ASEAN major hub for India’s global economic engagement: EAM Jaishankar

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ASEAN is one of the major hubs for India’s global economic engagement, and New Delhi would like to re-visit the level of ambition that it has set for the partnership with the South East Asian bloc, said External Affairs Minister (EAM) S Jaishankar on Thursday.

Speaking at the INDO-ASEAN business summit, EAM Jaishankar noted that India’s ties with the ASEAN are rooted in history, geography and culture. “What has energised them in recent years is a growing awareness of the potential they hold for our mutual interests and development.

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As our cooperation grew in the course of the last 25 years, new facets and domains emerged for collaboration.” The minister said that the COVID-19 pandemic had provided the backdrop for how most countries approach their economic policies and even shaped our way of life. “From the prolonged crisis of the last two years, four areas have come into sharp focus for international business cooperation: resilient and reliable supply chains, health security, digital for development and green and sustainable recovery.”

Jaishankar stated that Covid-19 has brought out many inadequacies in the global health system. “Meaningful partnerships, sharing of advanced technologies, collaboration in vaccine and pharmaceutical production, capacity building and transparency in health information are all part of the answers.

And in all of this, the role of businesses is critical.” Crisis can often be the basis of creativity, and our endeavour should be to come out of this more robust, the minister added. Underscoring the strides made by India in the field of COVID-19 production, Jaishankar said, “Our global collaborations have enabled us to emerge as a major vaccine production centre for the world. We have also seen innovative methods of collaboration, including an initiative agreed upon by the Quad countries.”

He said Covid-19 has also given an additional impetus to the diversification of the global value chain already in progress. “India’s campaign for an Atmanirbhar Bharat or a self-reliant India resonates with our quest to become a democratic and trustworthy partner for global industrial resiliency.”

Summing up his speech, the minister said India’s economic recovery is impelled by reform in manufacturing, labour, agriculture, education, skills and, of course, improving the ease of doing business. “We aspire to be a more effective engine of growth and a part of reliable and resilient supply chains.

International cooperation, especially among businesses, will be critical to the better world that we all seek. India and ASEAN can indeed work together more closely to this end.”