Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, during an event on Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue 2023 in New Delhi today, said India is expected to emerge as the third-largest economy in the world by the year 2027, overtaking Japan and Germany. This fiscal year, too, she says, India is expected to record below 7% GDP growth, which will be the highest among other major economies.
The FM was speaking on 'Geopolitical Impacts Upon Indo-Pacific Maritime Trade and Connectivity". She says maritime connectivity is crucial to India's ongoing effort to ensure the promise of 'Amrit Kaal' is fully realised.
Citing Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the FM says: “Connectivity is vital. It does more than enhance trade and prosperity. It unites a region. India has been at a crossroads for centuries. We understand the benefits of connectivity…There are many connectivity initiatives in the region. If these have to succeed, we must not only build infrastructure, we must also build bridges of trust.”
She says over the foreseeable future, India’s comprehensive national power is going to remain "inextricably" linked to the ocean. The Modi government seeks to position India as a hub in new and diversified supply chains and value chains across the Indo-Pacific and, indeed, across the world, she opines. "All sectors of the government are responding exceedingly positively to our new financial policies."
The FM attributed accomplishments like digital public infrastructure (Aadhar, Co-Win & UPI); the mega COVID vaccination drive; India’s climate-related actions; and actions on the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure (CDRI), Mission LiFE & the National Hydrogen Mission, as reasons for its rising global profile.
Notably, India’s ‘Blue Economy’, which accounts for roughly 4% of India's GDP. India has 9 states & 4 Union Territories situated on the coast, 12 major & 200+ non-major ports situated along its coastline, along with a vast network of navigable waterways for international as well as domestic trade.
The industry in India provides over 2 lakh direct and indirect jobs. According to the UNCTAD, India was also the 2nd largest exporter of ocean-based goods and services among developing countries in 2020.
Talking about India's G20 presidency, the FM says it has become a global standard for others to emulate. "It gave us a unique opportunity to strengthen India’s role in the world economic order & we seized the opportunity with both hands. True to our central tenet of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’, we steered an ambitious, people-centric agenda to address global challenges & to facilitate sustainable economic development."
Hinting at China, the FM says it is not possible for the Indian economy to ride on some crest while the economies of other countries of its maritime neighbourhood are wallowing in some trough. “If we are to grow in an environment of peace, security, and stability, the growth and security of others in our region must also grow. As far as India is concerned, we are straining every sinew to ensure that we set an example that is worthy of emulation."