Speech made by H.E. Mr. Yashwant Sinha, Minister of External Affairs, Government of India at the Inaugural Dinner of the 3rd India- EU Business Summit at Copenhagen

October 8, 2002

 

His Excellency Mr. Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Government of Denmark, Mr.Per Stig Moller

Mr. Johan Schroder, Chairman of DI

Mr. Hans Skov Chjristensen, Director General of DI

Mr. Phillipe De Buck, Secretary General of Unice

Mr. Lodha, President FICCI

Mr. Soota, President CII

His Excellency Mr. H.K.Dua, Ambassador of India to Denmark

His Excellency Ambassador of Denmark in India

Distinguished ladies and gentlemen


I am very happy to be here in your midst this evening and what I liked most was that the speeches came after the dinner. And now after dinner speeches have various models sometimes it comes before the soup is served; sometimes between the soup and the main course and sometimes between the main course and dessert. But I like this particular model more than everybody is relaxed and everybody has had their dinner and there is nothing to look forward to really excepting some boring speeches.

And therefore my first recommendation is that out of this summit there should emerge a code of conduct for after dinner speeches.


Applause 

I am quiet sure it will be universally accepted. But I am grateful to Mr. Christensen who remembers my speech in Lisbon two years ago there are very few who do that so thank you very much. I am glad that this beautiful city of Copenhagen and I am very sure that the outcome will be equally beautiful. Ladies and gentlemen the last 10 years have been momentous for EU and India. In the last 10 years you in EU have changed from being a community to a union and there is a world of a difference from what you are at the beginning of the decade in the nineties and what you are at the beginning of the decade of the 21st century. And this is not the end of the journey of the EU and like every living organism you are moving forward and as Mr. Schroder pointed out the larger enlarged EU with about half a million people with the largest GDP in the world will be an extremely important and interesting partner and therefore we are looking forward eagerly and with high expectations to the further expansion of the European union.

These have as I said been also momentous days for India because we have transited from a somewhat controlled economy to a market economy. We have integrated with the rest of the world and today as has been pointed out here by speaker after speaker that there is natural synergy between Europe and India and this is the foundation on which we must build our future. Globalisation the honourable minister referred to the benefits of globalisation. Globalisation is inevitable and any country where ever and how so ever placed can really fight globalisation or resist globalisation and it is inevitability of globalisation that makes it a challenge that has to be managed because we are witnessing today a globalised opposition to globalisation.

Wherever the economic institutions meet whether it is the IMF World Bank or the WTO, you find on demonstration in the streets. Why are they doing it? I remember when as Finance Minister and I was attending the meeting of the development committee meeting of the world bank I even threatened the members inside the room that if we are not able to find solutions to the globalisation problems of the world especially of the developing countries then you will find me with the protesters on the streets. And they responded by making me the chairman of the development committee. But the challenge of globalisation is the real challenge. The decade of the 90s has seen more eco crisis than ever before and again it is a grim global economic scenario we face today. What has happened in recent months has not brought glory to capitalism or market economy. Socialism is behind us it collapsed and as an ideology it has not worked. And if market economy does not sustain itself than where do we go and what alternative system do we adopt and there is a need for all of us to find solutions for the problems thrown up by globalization.

I will not go into the figure it has been pointed out that EU is a very important trade partner of India, and is a very important investor of capital into India and we have some very ambitious targets. We want the current level of trade of Euro 25 billion should go up to 35 billion euro by 2005 and double it is 2008. Investment and technology must go hand in hand. How shall we achieve this very ambitious targets set for ourselves? Not fully by the traditional route. We have had trade exchanges for many centuries and I am glad the Foreign Minister of Denmark is in the Asia square. Because now the focus of the EU, the focus of Denmark will be Asia and if it is Asia then India cannot be ignored. So we are looking to greater and intense interaction between European Union and India. Traditional links are very important and they should be sustained and we should transform this relationship in to a 21st Century.

And if we want to transform it into a 21st century relationship then we have to look at other new areas - the knowledge industries. We are strong in knowledge industries whether it, be, pharma, chemical, wherever knowledge is the basis we in India have a natural advantage and this advantage has been built brick by brick, drop by drop and I would like to salute here our forebears in India those who took command of social institutions in India that has led to this rich human resource in India and this is what we need to build our relationship of the 21st century. We are ancient nation with a young population. We have the capacity to become the reservoir of highly skilled human resource for the rest of the word . There was a time when we were concerned about brain drain and today they are our assets. And we will continue to supply to the world our knowledge workers wh! o will transform your dreams into reality. And therefore when I am talking knowledge I am talking in particular of research and development. India is today one of the platforms for R&D in the world and more.

More than 30 multinational companies have R&D bases in India. We have the CSIR which has 40 national labs, defence research organisation has 50 labs, ICAR has 36 research institutions, the ICMR has 21 research centres. We have ITTs, ISC, recs and a vast range of technical institutions in the country. That is how highly skilled manpower has been built up.

Health care is a very important area for synergy. There is tremendous scope for synergies. You have an ageing population. Who is going to take care of them? We offer our services we will look after them. Please tell your old people we will take care of them. The Indian doctors run the UK health service, the American health service. The largest numbers of people working in Microsoft are from India, we have people in NASA. This is the great advantage on which we want to build further.

There are issues of the moment. Trade is a very important issue. We face problems in trade. I was told for instance, in the EU our exports face all kinds of non-tariff barriers, we have to be little large hearted about these things, lets not get involved in these petty matters for the moment. You have a quota in textile, is there a justification that within the quota we should be subjected to anti-dumping trade protection measure. I can't find any justification for this double standard. I was told that 3.5% of Indian exports to the EU are subjected to these trade defence measures, while the overall percentage you have is 0.5%, is India being targeted, is there anything wrong that we have done a point to ponder.

We in India are looking for partnerships. Indian companies want to make investments and indeed have made investments. We want to share technology. I am not talking of a one-way street where we take your technology and capital and then compete with you. We are looking for a 2-way street. Where we will give you technology also, we will invest our capital, with our reserves as US$ 63 billion, India today is in position to invest in the countries in the north and Indian companies are interested in making investments in Europe. They want to set up manufacturing facilities here, please welcome them just as we welcome you and lets build up this partnership on the basis of equality and mutual advantage, there is indeed a tremendous future, which awaits us.

I am glad that this 3rd business summit is taking place in the very liberal atmosphere of Copenhagen. Denmark is one country, which has fulfilled its commitment of 1% of its GNP as overseas development assistance, there are few countries, which have done it, and I would like to salute Denmark for its achievements. We need the rest of the world to adopt a similar liberal approach. We need EU to become a real partner in progress of India and Europe and together.


I am quite sure India and EU can make this world a better place to live.


Thank you.

October 8,2002

 

 
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