The business of diplomacy
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The Boston Consulting Group report on 100 global challengers from emerging economies numbers 20 companies from India, which are rapidly taking on established advanced economy giants. Notably, it is not only the larger companies that are undertaking eye-catching mergers and acquisitions overseas — small and medium enterprises too are venturing out in significant numbers.
The MEA lays out the overall guidelines for commercial relations with any country, setting out a raft of facilitative agreements related to bilateral investment protection, avoidance of double taxation, sectoral agreements, economic partnership agreements and transport connectivities, among others. These greatly improve the climate for doing business with specific countries. In addition, opportunities are emanating also from rising overseas aid and lines of credit by the Indian government overseas.
In such a backdrop, the commercial wings of Indian missions overseas have an important role to play in several dimensions, such as sharing information on tenders, connecting businesses and often providing business facilities as well. In particular, leveraging emerging opportunities has meant a close cooperation of industry associations and government.
To give just a few examples, the CII, on behalf of industry, undertakes Track II diplomacy in consultation with the MEA and missions under the strategic dialogue process in several countries, going beyond bilateral economic relations to cover security, defence and other strategic matters. Indian industry is often associated with overseas visits by Indian dignitaries, the president of India, the prime minister, and senior ministers. Such visits are critical and help strengthen ties between Indian industry and overseas governments, which translate into new opportunities for both sides.
It is also important to note that representatives from Indian industry have been consistently associated as members in task forces and working groups set up by the MEA for bilateral and multilateral economic relationships. CEOs' forums and India Business Forums dedicated to individual countries are also established in consultation with the MEA and Indian missions. All domestic industry events with international participation are undertaken with guidance and assistance from th MEA and missions, including the CII's flagship events such as The Partnership Summit, the engineering fair IETF, trade shows, seminars and conferences, etc. For events outside India, the help of the MEA and the missions is invaluable. In particular, "Made in India" shows are often initiated by missions. Business delegations are undertaken in consultation with missions. Moreover, industry bodies also work with other ministries on overseas activities with specific focus, which are carried out with the help of the MEA.
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