India-Philippine partnership for development
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(Manila Times 18th December)

THE business summit and seminar on Friday organized by the Indian Embassy and the Indian Chamber of Commerce, in cooperation with the Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industry (PCCI), served as a timely reminder of the potential for great new mutually beneficial partnerships between us and our Indian friends.

The Indian Embassy and the Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC) brought a major Indian business delegation to the Philippines to interact with Philippine counterparts—mainly through the PCCI—as part of India’s activities to drum up global interest and participation in the Asean-India Commemorative Summit in New Delhi on December 20 to 21, 2012 being hosted by India.

That big event in New Delhi is being held to mark the 20th anniversary of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean)-Indiadialogue partnership and the 10th anniversary of Asean-India Summit-level partnership. The Philippinesactively pushed within Asean for India to be brought closer to the regional body.

The theme of the summit that opens in New Delhi on Thursday is “Asean-India Partnership for Peace and Shared Prosperity.” At the Summit, leaders of Indiaand Asean are expected to chart the future direction of Asean-India relations.

Vice-President Jejomar Binay will lead the Philippine delegation.

The Summit is expected to result in the adoption of a Vision Statement which would chart the future direction of Asean-India relations. The Asean-India Eminent Persons Group (AIEPG) would be submitting their recommendations to the state leaders on future relations between Asean and Indiaat the 10th Asean-India Summit in Phnom Penh.

New areas fo India-Philippine business

Conducted in MakatiCity’s Intercontinenal on Friday, the Association of Southeast Asian Nations-India Business Summit became a venue for the interaction between Philippine and Indian companies.

Leaders of India’s Electronics and Computer Software Export Promotion Council (ESC) met their Filipino counterparts and some held discussions to develop possible partnerships in selling to the global market.

Other Indian delegates were from companies engaged in the importation/distribution of solar inverters, solar power plants, and renewable energy products.

The Philippine Chamber of Commerce and Industries (PCCI) declared its support for stronger economic partnership between Indiaand the Philippines.

PCCI President Miguel Varela said his organization seeks the expansion of cooperation between Indiaand the Philippines, not only in the IT sector, but also particularly in the garments and textiles sectors.

Through the help of Indian businessmen, he stressed, we will able to revive the ailing Philippine garments industry. In the 50s and 60s, the Philippine cotton-wear manufacturing industry was strong, thanks to Filipino-Indian businessmen-industrialists, like Bob Sehwani.

Mr. Varela also mentioned the possibility of Indian investments in Mindanao. He related that in a meeting with Indian Ambassador Amit Dasgupta, the PCCI and the Embassy discussed the possibility of Indian companies setting up major projects in Mindanao.

Ambassador Dasgupta emphasized the need for more exchanges between the Philippines and Indiabecause still very many Indian businessmen and investors don’t know the Philippines well and similarly Philippine businessmen don’t know much about India.

Major industrial power and food producer

Filipinos are generally not aware that India is a major industrial power—and not only because it is a nuclear-armed state. It makes jet planes, railway systems, cars, submarines, ships and building materials. It produces summer and winter foods, cheeses and other diary products, wheat, rice, apples and oranges, aside from the most exquisite teas from Assam and Darjeeling.

India’s film industry is larger, in terms of money and physical size and number of films made, than Hollywood.

Filipinos must learn so many other aspects of India—including the fact that like the Philippines,Indiahas one of the world’s largest populations of English-language speakers.

Trade between the Philippinesand India is small, at $1.4 billion, compared to India’s trade with other countries in Asean. And total India-Asean trade is a low $80 billion. Indiaand the Asean countries must work to improve that.

Partnership in medical manufacturing

AN area that holds a lot of promise for profitable partnership is medical manufacturing.

Right now, Indiais a major source of generic medicines imported by Filipino wholesalers and sold in the local market.

Ambassador Amit Dasgupta told The Times Indian pharmaceutical companies are interested in putting up operations in the Philippines. What will be produced are not only for the domestic market but for export to the global market.

In January 2013, Ambassador Dasgupta will bring to the Philippines a group of executives of Indian pharmaceutical companies to meet possible partners.

Dasgupta explained that although India is already in the Philippine market as an exporter, his country still wants to be here in a “more vigorous manner and in a more concerted manner.” The presence of Indian-Philippine pharmaceutical factories will results in cheaper medicines.

“There are medicines available here 16 times the cost in comparison to India. I am confident that we will bring down the prices of medicine,” by making our products here, the ambassador said.

We’ve said this before and we will say it again.

India’s global importance—it’s “riveting centrality” as STRATFOR’s foremost geopolitical analyst and author Robert D. Kaplan calls it—is crucial to the stability of the world order.

We Filipinos must value our ties with India and the Indian people.


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