New Delhi: Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, inaugurated the 4th India-ASEAN Expo and Summit 2019 in New Delhi. Addressing the inaugural session Suresh Prabhu reaffirmed India’s commitment to the path of mutual progress and prosperity and said that terrorism knows no boundaries, it needs to be addressed through collective reaffirment towards promoting regional peace, stability and development. In this fight against terrorism and mindless violence, events like India ASEAN Expo and Summit acquire a unique significance, as it epitomises our faith and commitment towards a path of shared prosperity, progress and peace.
The Commerce Minister recalled the participation of ASEAN ministers during the ASEAN-India Business and Investment Meet and Expo 2018, organised on the side-lines of the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi in January, 2018 and said that it provided us the much needed opportunity to engage on promotion of trade and investment collaborations.
India and ASEAN represent fast moving economies. The global headwinds have caused a softening of the global growth from 3.1% in 2018 to 3.0 % in 2019. According to the recently published United Nations’ World Economic Situation and Prospects Report 2019, India and ASEAN are set to outpace the global growth. India continues to be the fastest growing major economy and is expected to grow at 7.2% in 2019 and ASEAN at 5.2%, with many economies within ASEAN with a growth of more than 6%.
India currently is working with ASEAN on multiple connectivity projects, through land, water, and air. Our projects like India-Myanmar-Thailand Highway, Kaladan Multinational Transit Transport Project, Project Development Fund for CLMV countries is crucial for our development. Exploring opportunities through connectivity projects will help India to remove physical impediments to trade with ASEAN countries and further integrate the two regions for better economic and trade relations. Increasing the rate of technology adoption and providing financing mechanisms is another challenge to expand growth.
India is experiencing rapid urbanization and to cater to this, Government has launched three mega urban schemes – Smart Cities Mission, Atal Mission for Rejuvenation and Urban Transformation (AMRUT) and Housing for All. Government’s plan to develop 100 smart cities and 500 AMRUT cities over the next five yearsoffer a USD 111 billion opportunity.
The Commerce Minister invited companies from ASEAN countries to take advantage of these opportunities for boosting trade with India and said there is immense scope for mutual collaboration in Services especially, healthcare, education, tourism, financial services, digital and artificial intelligence based services. India can play a vital role in lowering healthcare costs in ASEAN countries, as India can provide international standard drugs and formulations at very reasonable cost.