ECONOMIC DIPLOMACY- CORE COMPONENT OF INDIA’S FOREIGN POLICY

The PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry, New Delhi, hosted an interactive session ‘Role of Indian Economic Diplomacy in Making India Self Reliant’ with Mr. Rahul Chhabra, Secretary (ER), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India as the Chief Guest and other dignitaries. The objective of the session was to understand the role of Economic Diplomacy in moving towards India Self Reliance and how Diplomacy plays a role in establishing India as Reliable & Responsible Power. The session also focused to crave out the way forward for strengthening the bi-lateral economic activity between India and the Rest of the World post-COVID-19. Mr. Rahul Chhabra, Secretary (ER), Ministry of External Affairs, Govt of India in his opening remarks appreciated the topic of the webinar taken up by PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry and he mentioned about the current scenario occurred due to COVID-19 and it’s severity on humanity. Globally there has been a shift in terms of geo-economic, political, and strategic. The government of India is looking at these changes in an optimistic way by re-booting, revamping the economy. The government is trying to increase the demand and income of small farmers. There is a focus on MSME and enhancing public partnership and being self-reliant. We are trying to turn inwards but trying to make ourselves the global center of the supply chain. He talked about the virtually Economic Diplomacy that is happening via digital, seminars, and summits. He informed that we are trying to involve the private sector which will help to find our global solutions to new arising problems. We are trying to be the pharmacy of the world by sending medicines and devices to numerous countries around the world. Talking about energy security, he said that our engagement with International Solar Alliance is currently being restricted to the country near the tropical’s but we have to universalize it. On the International Energy Agency, we have a current association status and we want to upgrade it through partnerships in the future. Over the last 5 years, we have given over 300 LOC projects worth million dollars to a lot of countries. We are trying to allow Indian companies to open up in new countries and showcasing clear expertise in project planning, design, and execution. He also talked about some of the iconic projects under the scheme. The regional and cross border connectivity under these projects is a force multiplier ensuring the seamless flow of goods that are opening upmarket to neighbourhoods. In these changing times, the missions are being focused to look at the state and how inbound tourism can be promoted. FDI needs to be promoted and present in India as an alternative and reliable country for low-cost manufacturing. Mr Chhabra mentioned that our commercial diplomacy is based on transparency, fairness, equity, dispute, and justice. We are trying to develop self-reliance and a strong economy at the same time regionalize the supply chains and indigenize them in a structured manner. Sectors like textiles, gems, jewelry, chemicals, pharma are some of the sectors where the country can fill in on an immediate basis and we can develop capabilities in electronics, engineering, design, and others. We need to expand ourselves in human capabilities in the long run. The session was followed by a panel discussion moderated by Amb. K V Rajan, Convenor, PHD Ambassadors’ Economic Forum, PHDCCI. The dignitaries in the panel discussion were Amb. Anil Trigunayat, IFS (Retd.); Amb. Anil Wadhwa, IFS (Retd.); Amb. Skand Ranjan Tayal, IFS (Retd.); Amb. Amarendra Khatua, IFS (Retd.). They deliberated about the current economic scenario of the country and how Economic Diplomacy can be a way for boosting the economic capabilities of the country and also accomplish the goal of self-reliant India set by the Hon’ble Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi. They also discussed the recent changes and developments of economic activities in different sectors that have been beneficial for the growth of the country. Dr. D K Aggarwal, President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry mentioned that economic diplomacy has become an integral part of our economic policy to further the objectives of national security as well as to address the transformation happening in the country due to COVID-19 with the call for Self- Reliant India. This will also help in creating good-will at various international platforms. He mentioned that any crisis doesn’t only come to adversities, but also come with opportunities. While COVID-19 exposed the vulnerability of the supply chain but it made us realize the need for self-reliance that is to strengthen the Indian local supply chain. He also discussed the steps taken for LAC standoff, imposing monitoring system, anti-dumping duties, and many more that will help to create optimistic awareness in the international communities and forums for which economic diplomacy plays a pivotal role. Mr. Sanjay Aggarwal, Senior Vice President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry deliberated about the role of economic diplomacy in other areas including FDIs. He mentioned that in the last few months there has been a sea change in the world in terms of neighborhood. He gave a brief history of India-China relations and a realization that we have to indulge in diplomacy that is a mix of strategic, geopolitical, and economic. We have to align ourselves with other nations of the world as well. He discussed the measures of FDI in areas of healthcare, agriculture, fisheries, organic products, and others that will help in the betterment of the nation. Mr. Pradeep Multani, Vice President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry proposed the formal Vote of Thanks. He highlighted the role of MSMEs in the economic and social development of the country. The MSME sector was a nursery of entrepreneurship, often driven by individual creativity and innovation. The MSME sector in India was highly heterogeneous in terms of the size of the enterprises, a variety of products and services produced, and the levels of technology employed. Mr. Saurabh Sanyal, Secretary-General, PHD Chamber, highlighted that it is the opportune time for the Indian Industry to work in closer cooperation with each other to work towards the Hon’ble Prime Minister vision of making India Self Reliant and reduce the dependence on imported raw material and products. The session was moderated by Mr. Naveen Seth, Principal Director, PHD Chamber. The session was attended by 100 delegates. Millennial India International Chamber of Commerce Industry and Agriculture was the strategic partner of the session.

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