World News | Singapore & India Looking at New Growth Drivers to Propel Ties for the Next Decade: Indian High Commissioner Kumaran | LatestLY
Singapore, May 11 (PTI) India and Singapore are looking at new growth drivers to propel their relationship for the next decade, Indian High Commissioner to Singapore P Kumaran said on Thursday, asserting that the two countries have an “active calendar” of more than 20 bilateral mechanisms, dialogues and exercises being planned.
Speaking at the “B20 India Conference on Resilient Supply Chains for Trade and Connectivity”, Kumaran said that Singapore is an important partner for India and the relationship between the two countries is growing.
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“Singapore is a very special partner for India, and it is evident from the fact that this year, under its G20 Presidency, India has invited Singapore to be a guest country at the forum,” he said.
“We have an active calendar of more than 20 bilateral mechanisms, dialogues, and exercises. We are now looking at new growth drivers to propel the relationship for the next decade or more,” he said in a keynote address at the conference.
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Attended by Indian and Singaporean business communities, the conference aimed to deliberate on the next steps for resilient supply chains.
Singapore is India’s biggest trade partner in ASEAN and the 6th largest trade partner (2020-21) globally, with a share of 3.2 per cent of India’s overall trade. It is now directly connected to 15 Indian cities by eight airlines with more than 500 weekly flights both ways.
Kumaran pointed out that when the ministers of the two countries met last year at the India-Singapore Ministerial Roundtable (ISMR) in New Delhi, they identified digital connectivity, Fintech, renewable energy, green economy, skill development and food security as significant areas of opportunity for collaboration in the coming years.
Stressing the importance of forging resilient supply chains and global cooperation, Kumaran underlined that the current scenario is one of an “ever-changing trade landscape and external shocks, like geopolitical upheavals, pandemics, global economic slowdowns, fluctuating valuations of foreign currencies, and abrupt changes in policies by importing countries.”
Adding that India is all set to host the 18th G20 Summit this year, Kumaran said, “B20 is the most prominent engagement group of G20, and it is natural to expect that the recommendations arising out of it will be given utmost consideration by the G20 leadership.”
India sees Global Value Chains (GVCs) as one of the key drivers for an economy’s sustainable growth and development, the High Commissioner said.
“I am happy to note that B20, under India’s Presidency, has identified inclusive global value chains for resilient global trade and investment as a priority area for deliberations,” he said.
Emphasising that a resilient supply chain can withstand disruptions and adapt to changing circumstances, Kumaran said, therefore, these chains “prioritise flexibility, redundancy, and diversification to mitigate risks and ensure continuity, as opposed to regular ones that have traditionally focused mainly on efficiency and cost.”
He stressed that these new attributes are critical in today’s globalised economy, as disruptions to supply chains can cause unacceptable delays, higher costs, and lost revenue for businesses.
Kumaran pointed out that creating resilient supply chains is a complex issue that requires sustained collaboration between government and industry.
He asked companies to have a clear understanding of the risks facing their supply chains by conducting risk assessments, developing contingency plans, and investing in insurance to protect against losses.
He said that diversification of suppliers and spreading risks across multiple sources, building redundancy in the supply chain, adopting advanced technologies, and strengthening communication and collaboration with suppliers can increase the resilience of supply chains.
Governments could play a key role in promoting and facilitating supply chain resilience by collaborating to develop common standards for supply chain operations and management, helping reduce inconsistencies, he said.
Kumaran added that investing in supply chain resilience can also involve additional costs that need managing, and businesses should, therefore, conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the measures they plan to implement.
“They can optimise their inventory levels or prioritise their investments in supply chain resilience based on the risks they face and the potential impact of disruptions,” he said.
Highlighting the several multilateral initiatives aimed at enhancing supply chain resilience, Kumaram said the World Bank has been supporting initiatives to improve supply chain resilience wherein it provides financial assistance and technical expertise to help countries build resilient infrastructure, improve logistics capabilities, and enhance trade facilitation measures.
Within the G20, the Trade and Investment Working Group has been addressing supply chain disruptions, logistics, and trade facilitation.
Asserting that India continues to move steadily into global supply chains, he said, “We have significantly improved our position in several global indices, be it in ease of doing business, competitiveness or innovation.”
Detailing the progress made in India, the High Commissioner said the country’s economy witnessed impressive formalisation in recent years, reflected in the over 74 billion digital transactions through the UPI platform in 2022.
The diversified industrial sector offers attractive opportunities, and India’s exports are scaling new peaks.
The impact of the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes is reflected in the manufacturing sector.
“India, with its acknowledged digital capabilities, can help deepen global value-chain transformations through greater participation of smaller enterprises,” the envoy said.
“We believe that the quality and competitiveness of the Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises’ (MSME) are critical to enabling larger firms to partner with smaller firms for their GVC inclusion,” he said, adding that the crucial role they play in driving economic growth and job creation is well recognised. “We will continue to support them through policy and programme initiatives,” Kumaran said.
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