India has acted as the "pharmacy of the world" and healthcare supplier to all parts of the globe in response to the coronavirus pandemic, the external affairs ministry said on Thursday.
In a virtual address on 'Enhancing Economic Engagement with Diaspora in and post COVID-19 world', Sanjay Bhattacharyya, secretary (overseas Indian affairs and consular passports visas) in the External Affairs Ministry, said India has the ability to be a bridge between the developed and developing world and facilitating a two-way flow of information, products and expertise.
"India has acted as the pharmacy of the world and healthcare supplier to all parts of the globe. India has the ability to be a bridge between the developed and developing world and facilitating a two-way flow of information, products and expertise. There is growing interest in yoga and ayurveda," he said.
He said on the diplomatic front, India has been actively engaged through the new medium of virtual contacts on phone and video.
"Prime Minister and EAM (S Jaishankar) have had discussions with their counterparts in various countries not only to share experiences of coronavirus and ways to deal with it but also to develop a positive agenda for the post COVID-19 period," a statement by the External Affairs Ministry quoted him as saying.
"We have engaged to give new momentum to regional and plurilateral groupings such as SAARC, BRICS, G-20 as well as in UN agencies. Bilaterally, EAM has even held Joint Commission meetings and we are preparing for a Summit meeting soon," he said.
Bhattacharyya said these exchanges have also helped shape informed and coordinated responses to the coronavirus pandemic, such as evacuation of stranded nationals from each other's territories; maintenance of critical supplies of life-saving medicines and food; extension and facilitation of visas for each other's nationals; and sharing of best practices by partner countries.
He said in the initial assessment, based on inputs from Indian missions, it was found that India's record of managing the pandemic of this scale with decisive and early steps - and a low per capita incidence and death rate - has drawn favourable international attention to its resolve and capabilities.
"There is a significant market for food, agricultural products and food-processing industries. Indian automobiles, particularly low-cost automobiles, including two and three-wheelers will have an augmented market in developing countries. Textiles, garments and consumer durable industries will have export opportunities as many markets look to diversify their sources of supply," he said.
He further said that Indian e-commerce, IT and IT-enabled service industries have demonstrated that they can work through a crisis of this magnitude.
"These are obviously the businesses of the future. Digital highways can be used to leverage our higher education capabilities through tele-education onto a much larger market," he said.
A major economic opportunity for India will arise from the drive to diversify global supply chains. The attractions of investing in India are obvious. It is a major opportunity and needs to be grasped, he added.
"My own assessment is India will remain one of the fastest growing economies in post-COVID-19 scenario and economic growth will gain momentum in the medium to long-term," he said.
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