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India an important aspect in growth, stability, and development of Asia Pacific region

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Washington: India’s Ambassador to the US Arun Singh said on Tuesday that India is “a politico-economic opportunity” for the Asia Pacific, which could play a significant role in growth, development and stability of the region.

India’s participation in the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum could also help consolidate India’s quest to speed up growth and to integrate closer with its neighbouring Asia-Pacific economies, he said here on Tuesday.

“India represents a politico-economic opportunity for APEC,” Singh said, during a discussion at the Indian embassy, on “India and the APEC Opportunity” over a new report brought out by the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI).

The envoy noted that India was a G20 country and member of the East Asia Summit and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), “whose economic and political weight is bound to increase in the coming years”.

“We believe that India could play an important role within APEC for growth, development and stability of the region,” he said.

“In turn, membership of APEC would help India in integrating further with economies of the region, resulting in a win-win situation for all,” Singh said.

“It can also help India become familiar and more involved with the sweeping changes taking place in the region towards reducing transaction costs, improving connectivity and supply chain linkages, strengthening human capital development, and building sustainable and inclusive communities,” he said.

“Today Asia is witnessing a consolidation of competing mega-regional trade agreements,” Singh said, citing the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, the RCEP, and APEC promoted Free Trade Area for the Asia Pacific (FTAAP).

“While India is part of RCEP, it is not involved in TPP or FTAAP. Yet, India has already become a ‘strategic partner’ of several APEC member countries and all, but four, APEC member countries already have or are pursuing trade agreements with India bilaterally or multilaterally, including China.”

“India joining the APEC forum can bring India’s economic integration with the region to a level-matching its strategic partnership with the APEC members and groups like ASEAN,” he said.

In its new report, “India’s Future in Asia: The APEC Opportunity”, the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) highlights the significant benefits that would accrue to India, APEC members, and the region as a result of India joining the forum.

It also outlines the obstacles that stand in the way of Indian membership and the potential steps that India and APEC could take to address these impediments. (Arun Kumar, IANS)

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The Top Automotive Trends for This Year

At the very least, we can expect both motorists and automotive companies to have confidence in the future on account of robust sales figures

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Electric cars are gaining more and more popularity in India and are sure to see a boom in their sales and production in the coming future. Photo: M. Rittgerott
Top Automotive Trends of this year listed. VOA
  • Sale of vehicles and automotive parts is on an all-time-high
  • Last year 4 million cars were sold alone in India
  • The numbers are indicating towards a potential upswing

Sales of vehicles and automotive parts continue to increase in India. And just last year, the country saw at least four million cars sold. For a country touted to be one of the largest automotive industries in the Asia-Pacific region, the numbers only show a potential upward swing.

The increase in cess for large cars and sports utility vehicles jumped from 15 per cent to 25 per cent.

India saw the sale of 4 million vehicles last year.At the very least, we can expect both motorists and automotive companies to have confidence in the future on account of robust sales figures. Industry projections also provide reasons to feel elated. For one, the industry is set to grow at a pace of 10 to 15 percent. Given the right conditions and institutional support, it is set to reach a value of $16.5 billion by 2021.

Despite these positive figures, however, it is important to recognize the factors that will either bring new innovations to the table or worsen current challenges.

Here are some of the most important trends to watch out for this year.

Low-cost labor

India is indeed a haven for international car companies seeking to establish assembly lines at low costs. The availability of skilled labor and, with that, low wages will continue to play a vital role in improving annual production rates. China is the powerhouse for now, but local car manufacturers in India are maximizing the current labor climate in a bid to outrank its oriental neighbor.

 

Research and Development of features like fuel efficiency will be one of the main trends.

 

Focus on research and development

Safety and environmental concerns continue to be a priority among international car manufacturers. Consumers are still reeling from the serious recalls Toyota had to implement in response to factory defects. The experience created an atmosphere of caution, where buyers have become more focused on ensuring their own safety on the road. Design and manufacturing have thus skewed more towards ensuring better airbag systems, quality assessment procedures and environmental compliance.

Ventures with other companies

Innovations and technological shifts are a given, but it remains crucial for manufacturers to forge stronger relationships with OEM and tier partners such as machining services, AC parts suppliers, and windshield installations. However, due to incessant innovations, suppliers will have to update existing technologies or undergo acquisitions by larger OEMs where the sharing of vital resources of knowledge is very much possible.

 

Also Read: Electric Cars: The Newest Trend In India

Reliance on digital marketing

As with previous years, manufacturers and dealerships will continue to adapt to current digital trends. In terms of distribution, using online platforms can actually help in saving costs by selling directly to buyers, hence bypassing retailers. What’s more, using their online brand presence, car manufacturers can do better market research and outreach activities, allowing them to shorten the time it takes before buyers can make their decisions.

 

Digital marketing is another popular profession among graduates. Wikimedia Commons
Digital marketing will potentially increase the sales of cars. Wikimedia Commons

 

Focus on reforms

In a 2017 blog article by Priyam Saraf for The World Bank, policy reforms in the country are crucial for enhancing India’s competitiveness. Investments in research and development should also go hand in hand with reduction of tariffs as a way towards lessening the pressures on the automotive industry. More importantly, measures for improving compliance to global standards can further strengthen the industry’s performance in the face of rising competition that lies close to home.