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Remarks by Shri V. Muraleedharan, Minister of State for External Affairs at India – EAEU Conclave

March 16, 2021

H.E. Mr. Asein Isaev ( एसेन इसेव ), Ambassador of the Kyrgyz Republic
Mr. Vladimir I. Padalko ( व्लादिमीर आई पाडल्को), Vice President, Chamber of Commerce and Industry, Russian Federation
Mr. Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General, CII
Mr. P. Harish, Additional Secretary, Economic Relations, Ministry of External Affairs
Excellencies,
Distinguished Guests,
Ladies & Gentlemen,
Namaskaram and good evening !


It is a matter of great pleasure addressing the India-EAEU Conclave.

2. Traditionally, India and the EAEU countries have had warm and friendly links going back centuries and these serve as a strong foundation for our partnership. Between India and the EAEU countries, the areas of cooperation include key sectors such as manufacturing, infrastructure, energy and services. The potential strategic partnership between the two, can bring significant gains to both sides.

3. The Government of India in partnership with the CII has supported multiple business delegations to the EAEU countries to facilitate direct business to business contacts promoting trade and investment between India and Eurasian economic regions. Various sectoral delegations, buyer-seller meets, and SCO –Startup Forum, are some key highlights of the previous year when businesses from the EAEU region met their Indian counterparts on virtual platforms to discuss business opportunities and identify potential partners.

4. I am happy to note that organizations such as the CII have risen to the occasion given the ongoing covid pandemic and the challenges that businesses across the world continue to face, owing to the travel restrictions. Platforms such as these have helped businesses navigate the current challenges by creating opportunities for B2B interactions across countries over digital platforms.

Friends,


5. You may be aware that India has already started the process of negotiations for a Trade Agreement with EAEU. However, our interest is not limited to trade, we are interested to engage EAEU in a comprehensive manner. It is important to underline that the Free Trade Agreement can potentially translate into enhanced bilateral trade & investment.

6. There are several key sectors where significant opportunities exist for deepening economic and commercial partnership between India and the EAEU countries.

7. In the healthcare sector, building upon India’s expertise in the domain, development, production and marketing of generic drugs, medical devices and health-tech are the potential areas which could become the basis of cooperation in the sector between India and the EAEU countries.

8. Indian Hospitals have successfully established a large number of telemedicine facilities in various countries. Capacity building in areas such as healthcare is an important pillar of India’s development partnership abroad. To this end, both sides could explore existing and potential opportunities for greater collaboration in the telemedicine healthcare services, manufacturing of tropical drugs and joint research for the prevention of communicable diseases.

9. Trade in services is another vital area of potential cooperation between the two sides, given that the services sector is rapidly growing in all countries. Cooperation in sectors such as Tourism, finance, fin-tech and other professional services can be further explored. Discussions could also be initiated on Mutual Recognition Agreements to boost engagement in these areas.

10. In the Infrastructure sector, India and the EAEU countries could explore the possibility of building a transport corridor between the two regions, for enhanced connectivity. The said corridor will not only provide physical connectivity but will also strengthen mutual standardization and harmonization, to ensure smooth flow of goods and services between the two regions. Besides physical connectivity, potential for increasing digital connectivity between the two sides, may also be discussed and leveraged in the future to expand our mutual interaction.

11. The promotion of bilateral investments in SMEs could increase the magnitude of investments flows between the EAEU and India and have a positive effect on SMEs of both regions.

12. In agriculture sector too, India and the EAEU countries could explore possibilities for strengthening collaboration which could increase the competitiveness of our agricultural sectors, enhance two-way trade in the area and improve conditions for business cooperation.

13. Further, India and the EAEU economies can reap substantial benefits from the integration of our industries and businesses in the global value chains. This will, however, require enhanced collaboration between the two sides on ongoing global discussions on the issues of market access, ease of doing business and trade facilitation reforms particularly for cross-border exchange of goods.

Friends,

14. The Government has taken several steps to improve the domestic environment for facilitating investments in the manufacturing sector. The Government has announced a Production-Linked Incentive scheme to create manufacturing global champions for an Atma Nirbhar Bharat for 13 sectors. These include several new and emerging sectors such as electronics, electric vehicles, renewable energy, pharmaceuticals, solar PV modules and telecom.

15. The Aatma Nirbhar Bharat initiative announced by the Hon’ble Prime Minister have accelerated our pace of structural reforms. Redefinition of MSMEs, Commercialisation of the Mineral Sector, Agriculture and Labour Reforms, Privatisation of Public Sector Undertakings and One Nation One Ration Card are some of the notable reforms carried out during this period.

16. The Government is also focusing on the 3Ts: Trade, Tourism and Technology, to streamline and strengthen our imports and exports, enhance investments in new and emerging sectors and provide a push to inbound and outbound tourism in the post-covid times.

17. We look forward to this dialogue and are hopeful that the discussions to be held over the next two days will come to fruition to the greater benefit of both sides.

Thank you.

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