Tremendous potential to take the Indo-Gulf economic relationship to a higher level: Secretary, MEA

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New Delhi: Mr Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Secretary, Govt of India, Ministry of External Affairs today said that Indians are the most preferred migrants in the Gulf region and human resource exchange between both the countries is set to see a new horizon which will benefit both sides.

Addressing the session on Gulf & West Asia Session Reimagining Business Beyond Oil during ‘FICCI LEADS 2020’, Mr Bhattacharyya said that Indians are the largest expatriate community in the Arab world with nine million workers and professionals which form 30 per cent of all ex-pat workforce. With both India and the Arab region engaged in restructurings and transformational changes in the economy, the strong political understanding and goodwill between the people provide the tremendous potential to take the economic relationship to a higher level.

He further stated, “Skill mapping and skill matching of the employees will reduce transaction cost of hiring and ensure a competent workforce with improved job security and better compensation.”

Pointing out that India provided emergency medical supplies to several Arab countries, emerging as the first provider of humanitarian assistance to COVID-19, he said that in the new COVID era, there will be changes in social interactions, institutional exchanges and individual preferences. “At the economic level, we will have to design a new normal which will depend on the revival of our old businesses,” said Mr Bhattacharyya.

He explained that the key fundamentals of economic engagement, characterized by energy security and human resources, have a scope of further development. “The nature of our partnership has evolved over time from buyer-seller to a partnership and participation in upstream-downstream projects on both sides.” We must explore partnerships between the countries to develop oil and gas reserves of India which will make it a win-win solution for both, said the Secretary.

“The diversification of our trade basket beyond hydrocarbons must include engineering goods, gems and jewellery, precious metals, food products, textile and chemicals, which will provide further impetus to our trade relations,” said Mr Bhattacharyya. He further mentioned that the development of joint projects in third world countries, a stronger corporate presence in each other’s areas and expansion of connectivity will provide a new dimension for economic engagement.

Speaking on the future endeavours, he said, FICCI LEADS 2002 agenda looks towards practical business solutions to optimize the opportunities and to maximize economic returns. “Our relationship is founded on strong traditional ties and deep political understanding. This is the best time to step up the economic relation, match the understanding at the political level by linking up with each other’s development priorities, future-oriented technologies, and people to people exchanges,” said Mr Bhattacharyya. “Cultural exchanges will promote goodwill among the people and facilitate further economic engagement,” he said.

Mr Redha bin Juma Al Saleh, Chairman, Oman Chamber of Commerce, and Industry Oman, said the government of Oman has come up with a number of amendments in taxation systems, bankruptcy rules and moving towards privatization to increase investment in Oman. “We assure India of all necessary services and we want to find better corporate relation between Oman and India,” he said.

Dr Mazin M Al Zaidi, Director, Entrepreneurship & Innovation, Ministry of Investment, Saudi Arabia said, the Saudi Vision 2030 was to build the roadmap to diversify the economy. We wanted to shift from oil to new sectors, as diversification is a key element in doing business. Due to digitization in the post COVID era, many opportunities exist between both countries. “We want new investors to invest and add value to Saudi Arabia,” he said.

Dr Siddeek Ahmed, Chairman & MD, Eram Group, & Co-Chair, FICCI India-Arab Council said, the Middle East has envisaged its future engagement in India at a time when the economy is adapting through the disruptions created by COVID19. The major economies of the Middle East are looking at India for business collaborations to transform themselves and adapt to the new realities. “Adaptability is the key to the new normal,” said Dr Ahmed.

Mr Dilip Chenoy, Secretary General FICCI said the new emerging technologies like fintech, edutech, health services, consultancy and others have huge business potential to leverage further growth and development.

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