India’s service sector a catalyst in Asian growth

By Vijay Badhwar

One of the more dynamic ministers in Modi Government, Minister of Commerce & Industry and Civil Aviation, Suresh Prabhu, was on a flying visit to Australia to deliver Asia Address on June 26 for the Asia Society. The event, held at the heritage building, The Mint, was sponsored by the University of NSW.

Tucked in several layers of clothing, the Minister reflected the chilly and overcast Sydney afternoon in his opening remark of an uncertain world, wondering what could happen tomorrow. But, he congratulated the Asia Society, “for they know the future where the growth will be, and how India and Australia can benefit from each other”.

Mr Prabhu quoted the Financial Times that Europe was the past, America, the present, and Asia, the future but went a step further to say that Asia was the present and the future. Asia is built on rich heritage, has given birth to most religions and is home to most population in the world.

The United Nations has developed a strategy to reduce poverty by half, but Asia should take responsibility for that. India, in that context, is the next growth engine to lift global growth, he said, emphasising on the development of the service sector in India the way forward. The farming sector could not support the population it was sustaining at the present, Mr Prabhu said, and needed major reforms in the post production phase, for example, in warehousing, storage etc., where Australian knowledge was welcome.

It was the right time to invest in India, Suresh Prabhu said, with the Australian one trillion superannuation funds in sight. While India was focussing on its ”˜Make in India’ campaign to modernise its manufacturing and business, it offers its service sector to Australia, providing the economic interdependence to underpin relations. He acknowledged the presence among the audience of the Australian High Commissioner in Delhi, Ms Harinder Sidhu, to take the Australia-India relations to new heights.

The media was invited to the Indian Consulate for a ”˜Q&A’ session with the Minister but it turned into a social interaction with the community, Mr Prabhu visibly tired and in a rush faced with his busy schedule.

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