India’s vision of Self- Reliance provides an opportune time for the MENA region to amplify its Trade & Business Relations

New Delhi: MENA is a pivotal, strategic region for India with immense geo-political and geo-economic significance. MENA has emerged as India’s leading partner for security needs deliberated in the session of India- MENA Day: The New Dynamics during the PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry International Week.


H.E. Dr. Ahmed A.R. Albanna, Ambassador, Embassy of the United Arab Emirates mentioned that MENA is a pivotal, strategic region for India with immense geo-political and geo-economic significance. Both regions shared civilizational contacts, cultural affinities, and trade linkages. India has emerged as a bright top in the global economic order and under the present leadership; the country’s diplomacy has been focusing on the MENA region.


He shared that MENA has emerged as India’s leading partner for security needs. There has been a constant import and export in the sectors of crude oil, gas, energy, hydrocarbon, LNG, LPG, Petroleum, and many more. There are has been trilateral collaborations and trade exchange between the nations. India plays a vital role in the economic stability and wellbeing of the MENA region.


H.E. Mr. Munu Mahawar, Ambassador, Embassy of India, Oman while talking about India’s self-reliant movement, opined that with India’s move, this an opportune time for the MENA region to amplify its trade and business relations. The partnership between India and Oman is growing in the verticals of trade and investment. India has been a reliable supplier to Oman during the times of the pandemic and Oman views India as a priority partner as it seeks to diversify its economy and develop sectors like manufacturing, mining, logistics, healthcare, food, fisheries, and tourism.


H.E. Mr. Punnet R Kundal, Ambassador, Embassy of India, Tunisia mentioned that the MENA region is diverse. The region is increasingly becoming a trade partner for India and the security of various verticals. While there has been a slight decline in the trade and investments between India and Tunisia, we are hopeful that it will grow in the coming years.


Mr. Aditya Berlia, Co-Promoter, Apeejay Stya, and Svran Group discussed the long-term relationship shared between India and MENA region. India has seen the MENA region as an inspiration for many new experiments in innovative government practices and systems and incredible infrastructure projects have given benefits to all the people in the region as well the world. India has always been MENA a priority sector for trade and business development. We need to have free trade agreements, deepen cultural and scientific ties, and deeper linking of financial systems. With the daunting impact of the pandemic, there is a change of business and trade working in every region, India and MENA can be profitable allies for working together for a better and profitable future.


Mr. Abdulla Bin Damithan, Chief Commercial Officer, DP World, UAE Region mentioned that the MENA region presents opportunities in the sectors like agriculture, IT services, healthcare, advanced technology, and many more. MENA has been an important strategic region for India and trade between the regions has been increasing optimistically. Both countries complement each other in their vision, mission, strong foundation, and establishing new trade links. New partnerships and technological investment will help India to rise above all the challenges and develop further.


Dr. Rajendra Prasad Sharma, Professor- Marketing Area, Indian Institute of Foreign Trade discussed new dynamics in the India- MENA foreign trade relationship. The power distance in both India and MENA region is more based on collectivism on account of their shared cultural linkages. However, as the MENA region looks at uncertainty avoidance closely, it is to the credit of Indian businesses that the bilateral trade has risen rapidly.


Mr. Pradeep Multani, Senior Vice President, PHD Chamber of Commerce and Industry mentioned that the MENA region as a collective entity has tremendous significance for India. The Gulf constitutes the “immediate” neighborhood of India separated only by the Arabian Sea. India, therefore, has a vital stake in the stability, security, and economic well-being of the region.


He deliberated that MENA has been increasingly determining the economy, political, and security policies of its countries under its purview and are moving ahead rapidly with their economic integration efforts. The region has also emerged as a major trading and investment partner of India. The substantial oil and gas reserves of the region are of utmost importance for India’s energy needs and are collectively host to a large Indian expatriate community.


Mr. Multani mentioned that from the strategic point of view, India and MENA region share the desire for political stability and security in the region. The common political and security concerns of India and MENA translate into mutual efforts for peace, security, and stability.


The growing dynamics of the region have extended our cooperation beyond investments, trade & commerce, and sharing & development of human resources to security. There are good possibilities of investments and joint ventures, particularly for the MSMEs of both the regions and they should be focused to develop business linkages. Apart from trade and investment, both the countries should also promote tourism as people-to-people contact is very important to build long-lasting relationships. Also, engaging in cultural exchanges like student exchange programs, holding art festivals, etc., adds to the existing friendship, said Mr. Pradeep Multani.


Mr. Vijay Mehta, Chair, International Affairs Committee for MENA, PHD Chamber apprised about the relationship shared by India and MENA region making the MENA region crucial for business, trade, and economic development. With India being one of the top partners for oil and gas, the region shares common values, cultural, trade, and economic ties with each other. We need to amplify our trade relations in other verticals and industries to further grow the relationship in the times to come.


Mr. Saurabh Sanyal, Secretary-General, PHD Chamber while presenting a formal vote of thanks to all the delegates and participants mentioned that series of measures taken by the government of India and MENA countries to strengthen bilateral ties with each other despite the pandemic would serve as a positive stimulus to serve trade and forge key partnerships.


The session was moderated by Mr. Naveen Seth, Assistant Secretary-General, PHD Chamber, and was attended by many industry stalwarts around the world.


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