Remarks by the High Commissioner at the “B20 India Conference on Resilient Supply Chains for Trade and Connectivity” (11 May 2023)

Remarks by the High Commissioner at the “B20 India Conference on Resilient Supply Chains for Trade and Connectivity” (11 May 2023)



(11 May 2023)



My dear colleague, HE Ms. Kara Owen, British High Commissioner to Singapore

Mr Eduardo Pedrosa, Secretary General, Pacific Economic Cooperation Council (PECC) International Secretariat,

Mr Sumanta Chaudhuri, Principal Adviser, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII)

Dr Amitendu Palit, Member, B20 India Task Force on Inclusive GVCs

for Resilient Global Trade and Investment,

Dear friends,

Good afternoon.

It is a pleasure for me to join you today, to share perspectives on strengthening partnerships and shaping new economic collaborations between countries and businesses, to forge resilient supply chains. Global cooperation is crucial, especially in the current scenario of the ever-changing trade landscape and external shocks like geopolitical upheavals, pandemics, global economic slowdowns, fluctuating valuations of foreign currencies, abrupt changes in policies by importing countries, etc.

India is all set to host the eighteenth G20 Summit, making this year a special year for our country. B20 is the most prominent engagement group of G20, and it is natural to expect that the recommendations arising out of it will be given utmost consideration by the G20 leadership. I am happy to note that B20, under India's Presidency, has identified inclusive global value chains for resilient global trade and investment as a priority area for deliberations. We see Global Value Chains (GVCs) as one of the key drivers for sustainable growth and development of an economy.

As we all know, a resilient supply chain is one that can withstand disruptions and adapt to changing circumstances, such as natural disasters, political instability, and economic changes. Resilient supply chains therefore prioritize flexibility, redundancy, and diversification to mitigate risks and ensure continuity, as opposed to regular ones that have traditionally focused mainly on efficiency and cost. These new attributes are critical in today's globalized economy, as disruptions to supply chains can cause unacceptable delays, higher costs, and lost revenue for businesses.

But building resilient supply chains can be complex and costly. It requires businesses to invest in redundancies, diversify their suppliers, and improve communication and collaboration across the supply chain. Additionally, businesses must navigate geopolitical risks, such as trade tensions and political instability. Creating resilient supply chains is therefore a complex issue that requires sustained collaboration between government and industry.

Companies should have a clear understanding of the risks facing their supply chains. This can involve conducting risk assessments, developing contingency plans, and investing in insurance to protect against losses. There are several ways to increase the resilience of supply chains. These include:

(i) diversification of suppliers and spreading risks across multiple sources

ii) Building redundancy into the supply chain (This refers to having backup systems or processes in place in case of a disruption. For example, a company might maintain extra inventory or alternative transportation routes to mitigate the impact of supply chain disruptions)

(iii) Adopting advanced technologies (New technologies such as artificial intelligence, predictive analytics, blockchain and the internet of things (IoT) can help companies better monitor and manage their supply chain visibility and traceability. The government and industry can collaborate on developing new materials, technologies, and processes that are more resilient to disruptions)

(iv) Strengthening communication and collaboration with suppliers (Close communication and collaboration with suppliers can help identify potential problems early and facilitate quick resolution of issues. This can involve sharing information on inventory levels, production schedules, and quality standards, as well as establishing clear lines of communication in case of emergencies).

Governments can play a key role in promoting and facilitating supply chain resilience. They can work together to develop common standards for supply chain operations and management, which can help reduce inconsistencies and promote greater collaboration across various players and geographies. Governments can facilitate the sharing of information and best practices across businesses and industry associations. They can also help by negotiating trade agreements that include specific provisions on supply chain resilience, and provide financial support to help businesses invest in supply chain resilience measures, such as for building redundancies or adopting new technologies and processes.

We need to be mindful that, while investing in supply chain resilience can help reduce the risk of disruptions and protect against potential losses, it can also involve additional costs that need to be managed. Businesses should therefore conduct a thorough cost-benefit analysis of the measures they plan to implement to increase supply chain resilience. They can optimize their inventory levels or prioritize their investments in supply chain resilience based on the risks they face and the potential impact of disruptions. For example, businesses that operate in areas prone to natural disasters may prioritize investments in redundancy and backup systems.

There are a number of multilateral initiatives aimed at enhancing supply chain resilience. The World Bank has been supporting initiatives to improve supply chain resilience, particularly in developing countries. It provides financial assistance and technical expertise to help countries build resilient infrastructure, improve logistics capabilities, and enhance trade facilitation measures. Within the G20, the Trade and Investment Working Group has been addressing issues related to supply chain disruptions, logistics, and trade facilitation.


India continues to move steadily into global supply chains. We have significantly improved our position in several global indices, be it in ease of doing business, competitiveness or innovation. The economy has witnessed impressive formalisation in recent years, as reflected, for example, in the over 74 billion digital transactions through the UPI platform in 2022. The large and diversified industrial sector offers attractive opportunities. India’s exports are scaling new peaks. The impact of the Production-Linked Incentive (PLI) schemes is beginning to be visible on the manufacturing sector. The service sector is also moving towards rapid growth, powered by a large youth population. Record investments are being made in physical and digital infrastructure. The digital transformation that is currently underway is expected to accelerate the growth of e-commerce, vastly changing the retail consumer market landscape over the next decade.

Other key initiatives include the Gati Shakti Initiative for expanding and modernising infrastructure, the Logistics Efficiency Enhancement Program (LEEP), the National Trade Facilitation Action Plan (NTFAP), the Dedicated Freight Corridors (DFCs) initiative, the National Logistics Portal, the Single Window Interface for Trade (SWIFT), and the e-SANCHIT platform for electronic document submission.

India, with its acknowledged digital capabilities, can help deepen global value-chain transformations through greater participation of smaller enterprises. We believe that the quality and competitiveness of MSMEs are critical to enabling larger firms to partner with smaller firms for their GVC inclusion. We recognize the important role they play in driving economic growth and job creation, and we will continue to support them through policy and program initiatives.

Singapore is a very special partner for India, and it is evident from the fact that this year, under its G20 Presidency, India has invited Singapore to be a guest country at the forum. Singapore is India’s largest trade partner in ASEAN and 6th largest trade partner (2020-21) globally, with a share of 3.2% of India’s overall trade. Singapore is now directly connected to 15 Indian cities by 8 airlines with more than 500 weekly flights both ways.

We have an active calendar of more than 20 bilateral mechanisms, dialogues, and exercises. We are now looking at new growth-drivers to propel the relationship for the next decade or more. Our Ministers met in a new format - the India-Singapore Ministerial Roundtable (ISMR) – in September 2022 in New Delhi. They identified digital connectivity, Fintech, renewable energy, Green Economy, Skill Development and Food Security as significant areas of opportunity for collaboration in the coming years.

Before I conclude, I wish to thank ISAS, UK Aid and CII for organizing this event and providing an opportunity for different countries and industries to come together and engage in fruitful discussions, building upon each other’s suggestions and ideas, and promoting collective action.

Thank you very much.