Even as the global race for COVID-19 vaccination has begun, the lasting impact of the pandemic is still being felt on countries around the world as the virus effected businesses, economies as well as trade between countries. For India, a robust recovery from the pandemic would need newer systems, policies, partnerships and investments. As economic, trade and investment dynamics evolve, strengthening partnership with other countries would be significant for India during this time.

The Partnership Summit, organized by Confederation of Indian Industry (CII) and the Department of Promotion of Industry and Internal Trade (DPIIT), Ministry of Commerce and Industry on 15-18 December was a significant step in placing India at the forefront of the changing geopolitical global scenario.

The theme of the Partnership Summit this year was ‘Partnerships for Lives, Livelihood and Growth’. The conference, held virtually for the first time this year, saw an array of diverse topics covering geopolitics, technology, economics, investment, trade, sectoral and state level opportunities etc. Highlighting the importance of forging partnerships in the current milieu, it offered a unique opportunity to bring together eminent speakers and a much larger audience from across the world, on common challenges that countries have to face now to combat the impact of the virus.

Keeping the PM’s vision of India becoming an US$ 5 trillion economy in the next 5 years, the Government has launched the National infrastructure Pipeline under which it has planned to invest Rs 111 lakh crore on infra projects by 2024-25, pointed out Shri Nitin Gadkari, Minister of Road Transport & Highways and MSME.

Smt Nirmala Sitharaman, Minister of Finance and Corporate Affairs stated that India’s economic resurgence will help the world to recover and highlighted top priorities as healthcare, employment and growth.

Defining the Indo-Pacific construct, Dr S Jaishankar, Minister of External Affairs, highlighted that the Indo-Pacific signifies the confluence of the Indian and the Pacific Oceans that can no longer be handled as distinct spheres.

Shri Ravi Shankar Prasad, Minister of Law & Justice, Communications & Electronics and Information Technology emphasized that the unprecedented disruption caused by COVID-19 has accelerated the trend towards digitization.

Speaking at the summit, Shri Prakash Javadekar, Minister of Information & Broadcasting, Environment, Forest & Climate Change and Heavy Industries & Public Enterprises stated that fresh climate ambitions by countries without delivering on promised commitments, is a flawed approach.

Shri Piyush Goyal, Minister for Commerce & Industry and Railways, Consumer Affairs, Food & Public Distribution, and Chair of The Partnership Summit 2020 opined that India has been systematically opening up to global investors and encouraging new businesses by forging strategic relationships with international investment partners.

Shri Hardeep Singh Puri, Minister of State for Commerce & Industry and Minister (Independent Charge) of Civil Aviation, Housing and Urban Affairs shared that given the changes that we have witnessed in the global and the regional scenario, an intensification of the India-EU partnership becomes an even higher order imperative.

Speaking on the transforming role of finance in the country’s development, Shri Anurag Thakur, Minister of State for Finance & Corporate Affairs shared that banking and digital reforms have empowered the weak and brought into mainstream those who were on the margins.

COVID-19’s worst impact has been on G-20 countries and the crisis requires a good multilateral policy response for recovery to take place in 2021, noted Shri Som Parkash, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry.

According to Ambassador Robert Lighthizer, United States Trade Representative (USTR), we will see a global trend towards shorter supply chains. He further said that India for sure is a contender for becoming a trade and manufacturing destination. While there are challenges, India has key positives – a large population and skilled workforce, he added.

Talking about India’s strengths, Rt Hon Elizabeth Truss MP, Secretary of State for International Trade and President of the Board of Trade, UK said that India with its tech successes and its fast growing fintech sector is an ideal partner for the UK.

H E Lyonpo Loknath Sharma, Minister of Economic Affairs, Royal Government of Bhutan, shared that there have been a series of encouraging announcements recently on long term ambitions that could lead to constructive partnership to combat climate change. Bhutan is always with India, he added.

Nearly 7,000 delegates from over 100 countries participated in the event, making it a global event. With the participation of high-profile speakers including 29 Ministers from Bangladesh, Brazil, Mexico, Bhutan, Finland, India, Japan, Maldives, Mauritius, Myanmar, Norway, Singapore, Sri Lanka, UAE, UK, Ukraine and USA. More than 30 global CEOs and around 60 heads of institutions, leaders and experts from around the world took part in the global deliberations on seven defined themes of geopolitics, economics, investment, trade, technology, sustainability and healthcare.

The four-day summit saw seven country sessions and four sessions with Indian states.

Showcasing the strengths of Indian industry to offer to the world, the summit featured a virtual investment pavilion which included participation by union and state ministers as well as 90 companies.

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