There are potential opportunities for collaboration between India and Asean nations, including in the areas of infrastructure, innovation and start-ups and the digital economy.
Joining forces in such promising sectors will help build greater business links between the two economies, said Minister for Trade and Industry, Mr S. Iswaran, at the two-day Asean-India Pravasi Bharatiya Divas (PBD) conference over the weekend (6-7 Jan).
The conference is part of events held to commemorate 25 years of dialogue partnership between the regional bloc and India.
He noted that there is a clear impetus in Asean to integrate the market further "in order to meet the needs of our people and realise the potential of both economies". Both regions account for almost a third of the global population and a combined GDP of US$3.8 trillion (S$5 trillion), a figure that would make it third largest economy in the world.
Mr Iswaran cited the Amaravati project, the upcoming capital city of Andhra Pradesh state, as an example of how India has embarked on similar effort in prioritising the development of smart cities, which is an area that Asean businessmen and companies can participate in by studying how to "build connectivity" for start-ups to have access to markets in both regions.
He also highlighted the importance of the digital economy and e-commerce as another area of collaboration to serve as an enabling tool for small and medium enterprises to access markets that were once out of reach.
Deputy Prime Minister Teo Chee Hean also delivered his speech to reiterate on greater engagement and integration in the areas of regional trade agreements and digital solutions as key to strengthening the India-Asean partnership.
DPM Teo pledged that Singapore as ASEAN chair will do what it can do secure the support of India and all the other Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) countries to advance negotiations. Such agreements are important to “support an open environment that is conducive to trade and investment”.
With the RCEP, India and Asean can leverage on “its young populations and rising consumption” to boost manufacturing, exports and growth, so as to reach the total trade target of US$200 billion by 2022.
Other sectors as suggested by Mr Teo would be improving maritime and air connectivity and the collaboration in digital solutions such as cross border payment methods. Both would open considerable avenues and opportunities for trade and e-commerce. These initiatives will fit in well with the aim to develop an Asean Smart Cities Network to drive regional smart cities development.
Source: “Great opportunities for collaboration between India and Asean, says Iswaran.” (The Straits Times, 6 Jan) and “Greater engagement needed to boost India-Asean ties: DPM Teo.” (TODAYOnline, 7 Jan)