India’s Act East policy has drawn investments from Japan, South Korea and China, the east Asian industrial power houses, Jamshyd N Godrej, co-chairman of the India-Singapore Strategic Dialogue 2018, said on Tuesday.
The Act East policy aims to promote economic cooperation, cultural ties and develop strategic relationship with countries in the Asia-Pacific region through continuous engagement at bilateral, regional and multilateral levels.
The policy focuses on the seven northeastern states of India and provides enhanced connectivity to these states, including Arunachal Pradesh, with other countries in the neighbourhood.
“We are seeing a lot of investments coming from this region (into India),” he said, referring to Japan, South Korea and China.
Godrej, who is also chairman of the Godrej & Boyce manufacturing, said that India is looking towards the region from a trade perspective and as a source of capital.
“India is certainly poised for rapid growth in every sector especially in infrastructure building, he said, addressing the 11th India-Singapore Strategic Dialogue (ISSD) public forum, organised by the Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), a think tank at the National University of Singapore.
He also underlined the importance of Singapore as a financial and trade destination for Indian businesses.
Speaking at the forum, Singapore’s Ambassador at large, Professor Tommy Koh stressed on the importance of India’s partnership with the Association of South East Asian Nations (ASEAN).
“ASEAN and India are important economic partners,” he said, adding that the prospects for the combined India-ASEAN markets, with about 2 billion people, are very bright.
But he called for intensified cooperation between India and ASEAN, saying the two partners are underperforming.
Bilateral trade has grown up very substantially from a low of $ 2.9 billion in 1993 to $ 59 billion currently.
Comparatively, the bilateral trade between ASEAN and China is 10 times bigger.
India accounts for 2.6 per cent of ASEAN external trade when China accounts for 15 per cent, according to Koh.
“There is tremendous potential for us to increase our bilateral trade and for India to occupy a much larger share of ASEAN’s external trade,” he stressed.
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He also called on India to be part of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) involving the 10 ASEAN member countries, China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
Negotiations for the RCEP, the largest of its kind trade pact in the region, are to be concluded by end of this year.
He said that ASEAN leaders, at the Delhi Summit in 2017, had made an appeal to Prime Minister Narendra Modi to help conclude the RCEP negotiations with India’s participation.