India is determined to support its maritime sector, says Nirmala Sitharaman

India’s maritime economy offers a sea of opportunities and the government is determined to provide all possible support to the sector, finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman said on Wednesday. Speaking at the Indo-Pacific Regional Dialogue 2023 in New Delhi, the minister said that for India to grow in an environment of peace, security and stability, other nations in the region would also need to grow. 

She said India is conscious that its comprehensive national power will remain inextricably linked to the ocean over the foreseeable future. “We are seized of the pressing need to grow the maritime sector and our government is determined to provide the requisite support by way of fiscal policy and financial outlay,” Sitharaman said. “We seek to position India as a hub in new and diversified supply chains and value chains across the Indo-Pacific and, indeed, across the world,” she added.

The minister said the Indo-Pacific region, which accounts for 60% of global economic output and almost half of global merchandise trade, is also a geopolitically contested space, roiled by great-power competition. India stands firmly on the vanguard of an internationally accepted and consensually derived rules-based order, the minister said.

The minister also spoke about the need for economic stability in the region. “We truly believe that it is not possible for the Indian economy to ride on some crest while the economies of other countries of our maritime neighbourhood are wallowing in some trough,” Sitharaman said.

“As far as India is concerned, we are straining every sinew to ensure that we set an example that is worthy of emulation. Consequently, we have significantly improved our position as a well-governed and innovative country with a conducive environment for business, as reflected in several global indices,” Sitharaman said.

The minister also said that amid the gloom of supply-chain disruptions and economic turbulence generated by conflicts in the Ukraine and Israel, the Indian economy stands out as a bright spot. Maritime connectivity in general and trade-centric maritime connectivity in particular are crucial to realising India’s development efforts over the next 25 years, Sitharaman added.


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Updated: 15 Nov 2023, 09:30 PM IST

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