Boosting ties with Pacific Island to open many trade avenues for India

Boosting ties with Pacific Island to open many trade avenues for India

Besides having collaborations in fisheries and coconut processing, India can explore business avenues in information technology (IT), healthcare and renewable energy sectors, say experts

The Dollar Business Bureau

FIPCI summit Prime Minister Narendra Modi with the delegates from Pacific Island Countries, in Jaipur on Friday.

 Economic cooperation between India and Pacific island countries has the potential to open a host of trade avenues, especially in marine resources, oil and natural gas sectors. Addressing the delegates at the Forum for India-Pacific Islands Cooperation (FIPIC) summit on Friday, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “The centre of gravity of global opportunities and challenges are shifting to the Pacific and Indian Ocean region.” An FIPIC trade office will open in New Delhi to strengthen regional trade. “We can support the development of micro, small and medium enterprises and will extend support for purchase of machinery for coconut processing and enhancing rice and sugarcane yields,” Modi told the FIPIC representatives. Experts believe that the grouping of Pacific island countries can offer a host of opportunities. Besides having collaborations in sectors such as fisheries, coir industries, coconut processing, rice and sugarcane processing, India can explore business avenues in the fields of information technology (IT), healthcare and renewable energy. According to Chandrajit Banerjee, Director General of the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), the bilateral trade between India and this region need to be stepped up, especially in B2B cooperation. “India’s prowess in the IT space could be leveraged to help the Pacific island nations in areas such as IT infrastructure management services, consulting and IT audit, Business Process Outsourcing, application development among others,” Banerjee said in an interaction with the FIPIC delegates. Industries that have “tremendous scope” for cooperation include fisheries, agriculture, tourism, healthcare, IT and oil & gas, said Piyush Goyal, Minister of Power, Coal and New and Renewable Energy. “Pacific Islands have come to form a key part of the government’s Act East Policy. It occupies a strategic position in terms of global commerce located in the middle of some of the busiest sea lanes in the world,” Goyal said. India has already expressed its willingness to establish at least one information technology laboratory in each Pacific island country. Offering a line of credit for the setting up of a pharmaceutical manufacturing plant in the region, Modi said, “Supply of generic drugs from India is presently routed through third countries and are, therefore, very expensive.” The bilateral trade between India and 14 Pacific countries is around $300 million annually, of which, India's export is worth $200 million.  

August 22, 2015 | 2:59pm IST.

The Dollar Business Bureau - Aug 22, 2015 12:00 IST