In his address to the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) at India e-biz Expo 2020, MEA Secretary (CPV&OIA) Sanjay Bhattacharyya said COVID-19 was an unprecedented disruption, at all levels, across the world.
“It was not only a health crisis but it also imposed socio-economic challenges. Global economy slumped, social interaction was curtailed and individuals were fearful. It was imperative for the global community to coordinate efforts in the fight against coronavirus,” he said in his address on ‘Leveraging Business Opportunities in a post-Covid Scenario’.
India cooperated on repatriation of stranded citizens, in both directions and facilitated the return of over one lakh foreign citizens to their homes, he said.
“Vande Bharat Mission, the largest repatriation exercise, which brought back 30 lakhs stranded citizens, was possible because of the active support from partners across the world,” he said.
India provided emergency medical supplies to several countries and deployed medical teams, emerging as the first provider of humanitarian assistance to COVID, Bhattacharyya said.
“Thousands of Indian healthcare professionals went overseas to help them address the challenges of COVID. We strengthened cooperation in COVID research and testing. We stand ready to support in vaccine availability from India, as we will be the largest producers, once the vaccine is approved,” he said.
Bhattacharyya said that as business leaders give shape to India’s economic engagement, the key opportunities will lie in, among other things, Atmanirbhar Bharat which provides a vision of India’s plans to become a USD 5 trillion economy by promoting ‘Make in India – Make for World’.
“This will happen through our integration with the global economy. The thrust will be on joint ventures in infrastructure and manufacturing, integrating into supply chains and tapping sovereign wealth funds,” he said.
Bhattacharyya said new emerging technologies, especially in ICT, consultancy, fin-tech, logistics, edutech, healthtech, biotech and others also have enormous potential.
High technology cooperation, especially in defence and space has potential to be stepped up, he said.
Bhattacharyya asserted that Indian business must venture into less-explored markets, which can yield greater dividends.
“High-level exchanges between India and our growing circle of partners have promoted deeper understanding and cooperation. This is an opportune moment for the business community to develop deeper links, based on each other’s national priorities and development plans,” he said.
“We are engaged in reforms and transformational changes in our economy, there is strong political understanding with foreign partners and traditional goodwill between the peoples gives more wind to the sails. This is the equivalent of a ‘sweet spot’ to change the nature and scale of our economic engagement, to new heights,” the MEA official said.