On 13th March 2021, ASEAN Business Youth Association (ABYA) co-hosted a webinar with National Youth Council (NYC) on the topic of ‘Navigating the India-ASEAN Economic Landscape’ as part of ABYA’s ‘A Future in ASEAN’ monthly dialogue and NYC’s Asia- Ready Exposure Programme (AEP) webinar series. They had the privilege to invite panelists from across ASEAN and India comprising of. Edward Yee, Co-founder of Givfunds Social Ventures, and Pung Wan Qing, Senior Assistant Director in the Emerging Markets Division at the Ministry of Trade and Industry of Singapore. The webinar was moderated by Archana Atmakuri, Research Analyst at the Institute of South Asian Studies, National University of Singapore. The panel speakers shared insights about the economic landscape and opportunities between ASEAN and India.
Written by: Hendri Surya Widcaksana
Edited by: Bryan Chang
During the panellists’ sharing of their insights, Edward shared his experience when he visited India for the first time and observed economic ecosystem differences in some major cities in India, such as New Delhi, Mumbai, and Bangalore. Besides Edward, Wan Qing also noted differences of economic ecosystems in the Middle East, Africa, and South Asia. Both Edward and Wan Qing noticed that India has the potential to become one of the world’s economic powerhouses, as many consulting firms like McKinsey are also noticing India’s fast-paced economic growth with its population of 1 billion people.
Promising Growth in India and ASEAN
There has been growth in numerous sectors between India and ASEAN. For example, there has been growth in consumer goods trade between India and Singapore since 2004, rapid growth in foreign direct investment (FDI) between the two countries since 2010, and increasing interactions in financial services, trading, and industries between the two countries.
Singapore’s reputation as one of world’s trading hubs and Asia-Pacific’s destination for multinational companies, and India’s investment potential amidst increasing operational costs in China, demonstrates the promising growth in economic relations between India and ASEAN.
The rapid increase in technology penetration and development of IT talents, has also become one of the key drivers for India’s economy, as well as consumption by India’s population. India’s government sees opportunity to create more manufacturing jobs for Indian citizens, with potential investments in electronics and textiles diversifying from China to India.
Economic and Social Challenges and Efforts to Overcome Them
Although India has much potential, there are problems faced by India in reducing poverty, ensuring gender and social equality and in providing safety in certain regions. Negative sentiments about India have also been expressed by certain netizens through internet and online media. However, these are issues also present in many developing countries, and both speakers and the moderator agreed that Indians are generally very hospitable towards foreigners. India has also been making some progress in tackling public safety and inequality issues, despite the international media’s tendency to overfocus on high profile criminal acts in India over the past few years.
To overcome economic challenges, India has attempted to boost economic ties with other regions such as ASEAN by ratifying regulatory agreements such as the Comprehensive Economic Cooperation Agreement (CECA) between Singapore and India and strengthened investment cooperation between ASEAN and India. The speakers also encouraged participants to visit India in the future to have a more comprehensive view on Indian society and explore potential opportunities in areas such as investment and trade.
On a final note, the panellists noted important points and conclusions regarding topics discussed in the webinar. They expressed hope that both ASEAN and India’s economy will continue to grow after the COVID-19 pandemic ends to benefit people in the regions. We would like to thank the speakers for your insights and to our members for participating in this webinar. Finally, we also express our heartfelt gratitude to our co-organizers NYC, along with our supporting partners Singapore Global Network, Young NTUC and OSG Youth Alliance for their continued support for ABYA.
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