"It is my great pleasure to be here today at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad to inaugurate the second edition of Deccan Dialogue.
I wish to congratulate both – the Ministry of External Affairs and the ISB for bringing together such a diverse and distinguished gathering on a common platform to deliberate on the important and topical challenges confronting all nations in the economic sphere.
It is heartening to see the great interest and response this Dialogue has generated. Strengthening economic diplomacy as a means of driving growth within our own economy and promoting growth and development across countries is a key pillar of India’s foreign policy, and we have been making earnest efforts to strengthen it.
We are living through an era of globalization wherein the world is more connected than ever before. It is also true, however, that the “Global Village” we have grown accustomed to is rapidly changing in unprecedented ways. This swiftly changing global geo-political and geo-economic landscape requires individual countries to come up with carefully strategized, dynamic and calibrated responses.
Sisters and Brothers,
The older patterns of trade and commerce are in the process of an ongoing paradigm shift--the rules-based, anti-discriminatory and the all-inclusive multilateral trading system, centered around the UN, the WTO and the international law, is facing an uncertain future.
This situation benefits no country, but it is the developing countries which are feeling left out from the processes of economic cooperation and have to suffer the maximum consequences from the fallout.
In the face of the ongoing transformations, it becomes all the more important that we support the efforts towards making global governance more representative by ensuring greater participation of emerging markets and developing countries in global decision-making.
Irrespective of its failings and drawbacks, we must acknowledge that the processes of globalization opened up a world of possibilities.
For a young, dynamic and developing country like India, globalization put the markets of the world within a reaching distance and combined with the process of economic liberalization undertaken by India, the job market that young Indians face today is fundamentally different from what it used to be a couple of decades ago. This became possible because we embraced the process of globalization and have striven to make it work for us.
India is the world’s sixth largest economy, contributing over 15% to the global economic growth, and is poised to contribute to the global economic strength for the next many decades.
As we all are aware, the 21st century is being hailed as the Asian century and India has a key role to play in promoting peace, security and development in Asia and beyond.
India supports a rules-based multilateral order to tackle many common challenges such as climate change, technology divide, trade disputes, terrorism, connectivity and maritime threats. But when we are faced with issues of unilateralism and protectionism, we need to be conscious of the fact that it was India and other developing countries which had earlier made a clarion call to reform the multilateral system as it exists so that developing countries have a greater voice in global governance. Consequently, it is not our case to go back to the status quo on multilateralism.
What we need is reformed multilateralism to face the headwinds of protectionist tendencies. We need to bring about the much-needed reforms in international political, financial and business institutions so that they are more representative of the ground realities and adept to respond to new challenges.
Enhanced regional connectivity, both physical and digital, can boost trade and play a pivotal role in bringing prosperity and development. However, for such initiatives to be successful and sustainable they should be transparent, inclusive and respect the principles of sovereignty and territorial integrity.
India on its part is placing special focus on improving connectivity infrastructure with neighboring countries both at the bilateral level and through regional forums like BIMSTEC and Indian Ocean Region (IOR) for expanding intra-regional trade. India’s vision of Indo-Pacific is also rooted in advocacy of SAGAR- Security and Growth for All in the Region. India will support all efforts to keep oceans open, secure and free for the benefit of all.
During my official visits to Africa, Asia and Latin America, I have personally witnessed the tremendous potential for stronger economic and investment ties with countries of the South. There are many complementarities, which can be harnessed for mutual benefit.
Effective economic diplomacy with a development approach is key to materialize this potential. India has always emphasized that economic engagement should not push countries into debt traps or restrict the space for their development. Development partnerships should be based on sustainable models, on terms that are reasonable and appropriate, and are guided by local priorities and capacities.
The support offered by India under our Development Partnership program to countries in Africa and Latin America is also increasingly covering critical areas of education, energy and skill development and disruptive technologies including Artificial Intelligence, Internet of Things, issues of cyber security etc.
Thus, we have brought in e-ITEC programme, Tele-medicine and Tele Education and the Pan-Africa e-network project. These are the areas which have been overlooked by traditional development partners of Africa. But India is now focused on working on improving these very critical dimensions of our development partnership.
Sisters and Brothers,
Technology played a key role in shaping the current economic and trade system. The rapid global economic integration witnessed in the last 2-3 decades was essentially fuelled by the IT revolution. New digital technologies like Artificial Intelligence and Internet of Things can provide the much-needed stimulus for reviving global economic activity. At the same time, we must be aware that they may exacerbate the technology/digital divide and lead to compartmentalization of global trade due to legitimate concerns relating to security and control over these technologies.
India believes that embracing new technologies is a necessity for developing countries to leap-frog into the 4th industrial revolution era and also to positively transform the lives of people. For this to happen, we need to look at appropriate frameworks for international cooperation at the global and regional levels that can avoid the digital divide and ensure that the 4th industrial revolution is an inclusive one.
In this context, it would be pertinent to reiterate that India stands for an open, secure, stable, accessible and non-discriminatory environment for ICT and digital technologies and upholds the centrality of the United Nations in discussions on ICT-related security issues.
India welcomes the establishment of a UN open-ended working group on this matter, as well as the launch of a new edition of the Group of Governmental Experts (GGE).
Technology partnerships should also promote innovation and indigenization so that the benefits are sustainable. This is directly related to capacity building and appropriate skilling of human resources. Cooperation in higher education and technical training become crucial in this context. I am glad to note that you will deliberate on both these topics during the course of today's Dialogue.
I am sure you would have noted the relevance of holding this dialogue in the city of Hyderabad. Hyderabad has been the center of disruptions which are driving innovations in the country, and striving to fulfill the varied promises of the digital age. T-Hub, one-of-its-kind, largest incubator for start-ups is headquartered in the city and has been pivotal in providing our companies with an innovation-driven ecosystem.
Hyderabad is one of the first cities in India to witness the growth of the IT/ITeS sector and contributes more than 11% to the country’s IT exports. Additionally, Hyderabad is also witnessing a rapid growth in the pharma, biotechnology and medical technology sectors, with the Genome Valley near Hyderabad as one of Asia’s premium biotechnology and research and development hubs. Today, Hyderabad has emerged as the choice of destination for life sciences companies of all sizes given its talent pool, vibrant life sciences and technology ecosystem, presence of premier research institutes, availability of ready-to-occupy laboratory space and proactive government support.
To conclude, I would like to say that despite the challenging times, I remain optimistic that we can collectively overcome the new and emerging barriers to global trade and economic engagement, and workout innovative and sustainable solutions that are acceptable to all. I hope your deliberations today will contribute to this exercise.
I wish all success to the Dialogue. And also, I wish that you get an opportunity to explore the Deccan part of the Deccan Dialogue after the Dialogue itself, and explore the many treats that the city of Hyderabad has to offer.