No country is self-sufficient; trade will have to continue: Subhash Chandra Garg, Former Secretary (Economic Affairs)

New Delhi: Mr Subhash Chandra Garg, Former Secretary (Economic Affairs), yesterday said that no country is self-sufficient, and trade will have to continue. He added that there is a need to look at the efficiency of global value chain and reducing the cost of production.

Addressing FICCI-KAS webinar on ‘Geo-political & Economic Impact of Covid-19: Emerging Challenges & Opportunities and Way Forward for India’, Mr Garg said that the impact of COVID-19 will be temporary. However, the pandemic has impacted workers, businesses, and governments severely and in such a situation, the government needs to address the issues.

Mr Garg said that Indian economy has suffered heavy losses due to the pandemic. The government should consider unlocking the lockdown by the end of June to relatively lower economic losses, he added.

Mr Navdeep Suri, Former Indian Ambassador to UAE said that skills of workers returning from foreign countries like the Gulf can be utilized in India in the absence of migrant workers who are returning to their native places. He added that with the emergence of COVID-19, sectors such as online education and telemedicine witnessed an upward surge and India should take advantage of such sectors.

Mr Vijay Gokhale, Former Foreign Secretary said that India’s FDI policy is good, but the last mile connectivity needs to be improved. It is a golden opportunity for India to address this issue. He added that India needs to position itself strategically with the US and China. “It is an opportunity for India to leverage its relationship with the US and China for economic benefit of the country,” said Mr Gokhale.

Mr Ajay Shankar, Former Secretary, DIPP said that it is time for India to re-engineer its regulatory regime providing greater predictability and certainty to the system. India needs to re-strategize its policies and think of nuanced policy instruments so that when normalcy returns, the country can grow at full potential. He added that India should look at investment-led growth and green economy.

Mr Sidharth Birla, Past President, FICCI said that many countries having realized their large dependence on China-driven supply chains are looking at alternates. India is urging global players to look at India as a future alternative supply base. He added that it is almost certain we will see significant change in international relations, which is bound to impact India in more ways than one. It is critical for India to comprehend the essence of these changes and how global balances may change, plan how it should safeguard itself, and design suitable strategies to capitalize on emerging opportunities.

Mr Peter Rimmele, Resident Representative to India, KAS said that with COVID-19, the world is facing an unprecedented challenge but in every challenge there lies an opportunity. He gave a clarion call for closer partnership between India and Europe and urged India to unite with Germany over commonalities between the two countries.