India has offered 300 Lines of Credit to 64 countries: Jaishankar
NEW DELHI [Maha Media]: Stressing on the need of economic diplomacy as one of the core components of India's foreign policy, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Saturday noted that the country has so far offered 300 Lines of Credit (LoCs) to 64 countries that further involve 539 development projects.
"Economic diplomacy is the heart of any policy today. Be it Act East policy, Neighbourhood Policy. What we have done through the economic channels have really made the difference out there. If brand recognition, market access, business development are practical measures of support but I do believe that there's a larger strategic intent and a strategic purpose which business and government can convey together," Jaishankar said at the Global Business Summit.
Providing an overview of how economic diplomacy has become a very effective tool to achieve various national objectives, the External Affairs Minister said, "I can say this with a great deal of confidence that today if you go to an Indian embassy, they exclude a receptivity and extend a degree of support which perhaps Indian business would not have encountered a few years earlier."
This is not just with regards to high-value transactions, but today, "we are much more business-friendly than we have been. But are we there? Are we doing enough? Not a 'No' but probably not a 'Yes'," he said.
"Do other governments do for their businesses abroad? 'Absolutely, yes'. I have seen visiting dignitaries bring up business issues, sometimes very specific issues, during their visit to India. And today, I believe, our systems have to fully appreciate that standing up for business abroad is rooting for jobs at home."
"Others get it. It's time we did," Jaishankar added.
The dignitary further added that a positive attitude towards business must be backed up with supportive policies.
For example; Lines of Credit extended by the government to partner countries with soft rates of interest to promote the country's business interest abroad. Today, these LoCs have grown in scale and intent to range from executing projects abroad to extending services and supplies products, he said.
What is common among these LoCs is that all have a minimum Indian content usually 65- 75 per cent and each in their own way has helped to provide market access abroad for our companies. "These LoCs have a sovereign guarantee. It helps our countries to operate in difficult markets where they would normally not venture," Jaishankar stated.
It is noteworthy that some of the leading companies in India have made their first foray into our neighbourhood and countries in Africa through LoCs, he said.