In the last couple of years high strategic and economic priority has been rendered in India’s foreign policy to the Indian Ocean Region.
The Indian Ocean has been a fulcrum of Indian diplomacy. According to the Government of India, maritime trade accounts for about 75 per cent value and more than 90 per cent of volume of Indian trade.
India enjoys a strategic location within the Indian Ocean region. In the background of the growing security and economic dimensions of this region, the imperatives of cooperation and the need for adept diplomacy are evident. Prime Minister Narendra Modi has endorsed the imperative to form a close connect with nations in the Indian Ocean Region during his visit to Seychelles, Mauritius and Sri Lanka in 2015 and countries of East and South Africa.
The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) – a grouping of 21 IOR countries has been particularly dynamic in the region in promoting closer ties within IOR.
Perception Survey on Doing Business with IOR – Key Takeaways
In the run up to the 20th anniversary of IORA, FICCI, conducted an industry wide perception survey to understand the current industry sentiment on economic potential of India’s engagement with the Indian Ocean region. The companies surveyed share deep trade and investment linkages with the IOR region.
As a run up to the Summit, FICCI, in its capacity as the Business Secretariat of IORA in India, conducted a perception survey to take a stock of the current sentiment within the Indian industry on the economic potential of India’s engagement with the Indian Ocean region. The companies surveyed share deep trade and investment linkages with the IOR region. Responses were received from respondents across India and from participants of regional stakeholder consultations organised by FICCI in 3 metropolitan coastal cities– Kolkata, Mumbai and Chennai.
The companies represent wide span of sectors including fisheries and aquaculture, renewable ocean energy, seaports and shipping, offshore hydrocarbons and seabed minerals, manufacturing, construction, electricity, gas and water supply, business services, trading and renting, banking and financial services, health and education and information and communication technology, to promote the Blue Economy as a driver for sustainable development; research and development; investment, technology transfer and capacity building.
An overwhelming majority of respondents were upbeat about opportunities for trade and investment expansion within IORA and complementarities that India can tap with IORA. Manufacturing – both for IORA nations and for collaborative projects was rated quite high by the respondents reinforcing Government of India’s ‘Make in India’ initiative. Moreover, better trade facilitation, appropriate dissemination channels, access to financial resources for smooth functioning of SMEs and innovative business models to encourage women entrepreneurship are some of the suggestive measures by the respondents to turn the region pro-business and investor friendly.