Rome [Italy], November 3 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar stressed the need for building more resilient supply chains in the world, adding that if something unusual happens in one part of the world, it should not affect the rest of the world.
"We think today that it is important for countries to build more reliable and resilient supply chains because what we experienced during Covid should not continue to happen. It should not be that most of the manufacturing and most of the supplies are located in one part of the world, and if something happens in that part of the world, all of us are at risk," he said.
Speaking at the Joint Secretary Session of the Senate's External Affairs and Defence Commission, Rome, the External Affairs Minister added, "It's important as market economies, as democratic societies, that we also cooperate among ourselves to build supply chains which are more predictable, which are more governed by rules, which are more stable, which are less political."Underscoring the significance of building a balanced production unit in the world, he said Italy and India are working together to overcome the "big challenge".
"So I think how to re-globalise today, how to ensure that there are more centres of production, how to create new supply chains, additional supply chains, is a very big challenge, and it is certainly something which Italy and India should be working together," he said.
The EAM also brought up the Free Trade Agreement with the European Union, saying he has reviewed its progress.
"We are, since 2021, in the midst of negotiating a set of agreements, the most important of which is a Free Trade Agreement with the European Union, one on geographical indications, also on investment. Just this morning, I was reviewing where we were with my Trade Ministers. These are complex negotiations, and I think even by comparative standards of Free Trade Agreements, I think the one with the European Union is generally regarded all over the world as the most, I would say, perhaps one of the highest standards and therefore the greatest difficulty in negotiation," the EAM added.
"We also have, last year, set up a Trade and Technology Council with the European Union. The EU only has two of these Councils, one with the United States and one with India. And the fact that the three of us; because we also have a similar forum with the US; the fact that the EU, the US, and India are today coordinating and cooperating very closely on technology matters is something which is very important to recognise," the EAM stated further.
"We see very frankly, very difficult times ahead, very turbulent times ahead...Over the past five years, the impact of COVID-19 has been deeply traumatic, not only on the global economy but also on societies. There are still many countries and many societies which have not recovered from it," he said.
The External Affairs Minister said numerous countries were grappling with financial crises and debt issues, further exacerbated by the Russia-Ukraine conflict. "We have seen, that progress in sustainable development goals, in many countries, has been rolled back, and many more countries today are facing, a financial economic crisis, and debt is a very big problem. Trade has been very challenging," Jaishankar said.
On the global repercussions of the conflict in Ukraine, he stated, "We have had the conflict in Ukraine...In a globalized world, it has affected every part of the world. Europe is of course the most affected part, but even further regions have seen energy problems, food problems, inflation, all of this in many places have directly driven by what has come out of the Ukraine conflict."Jaishankar emphasized Italy's historical significance as one of India's oldest links to Europe and its substantial contributions in strengthening cooperation with the European Union.
"Italy is historically among our oldest links with Europe. In recent years, Italy has also played a very, made a very major contribution to strengthening, cooperation with the European Union, as a whole. We have been in the midst of negotiations since 2021 a set of agreements, the most important of which is a free trade agreement with the European Union, one on geographical indications, also on investment...these are complex negotiations," Jaishankar said.
"We also have, last year, set up, a trade and technology council, with the European Union. The EU only has two of these councils, one with the United States and one with India...The fact that the EU, the US, and India are today coordinating and cooperating very closely on technology matters is something which is very, important to recognise," he added. (ANI)