India's key messages during the Commonwealth summit being held in London this week will focus on ease of doing business in the country and creating a strong export economy, a senior Indian diplomat said on Friday.
The inaugural Commonwealth Trade Ministers' Meeting is being held over two days starting on March 10, with ministers and policymakers from across the Commonwealth set to discuss areas for increased collaboration.
India is being represented at the meeting by Commerce Secretary Rita Neotia, reports The Statesman citing PTI.
"The key messages are around ease of doing business in India and all the initiatives being taken by the Government of India. To a large extent there is a recognition that India is doing well in this area and gone up in the World Bank rankings. There is a recognition that trade and investment go together," said Dinesh Patnaik, deputy high commissioner to the UK.
"The other focus is on how to create an export economy.
The Commerce Secretary will be highlighting the steps India is taking and also take note of what other countries have done in the field," he added.
The opening day of the meeting, jointly convened by the Commonwealth Enterprise and Investment Council (CWEIC) and the Commonwealth Secretariat, was focused on a series of roundtables as an exchange of ideas between the member- countries, with Friday ear-marked for a ministerial meetings.
The event was opened by UK minister for international trade Liam Fox, who flagged India among the fastest growing import economies over the next five years.
He said in his speech: "According to the IMF, the Commonwealth countries whose imports of goods and services are likely to grow fastest over the next five years are Mozambique, Bangladesh, India, Brunei, Ghana and Sierra Leone.
Many more countries represented here on Friday are also experiencing rapid economic development.
"This represents not only a great opportunity for their citizens to share in the proceeds of global prosperity, but it represents tremendous opportunities to importers and exporters from across the whole Commonwealth, a genuinely win-win situation."
Fox also highlighted an upcoming small and medium enterprise (SME) summit to be held in India next month.
"The [Commonwealth] Secretariat has also organised a summit next month, designed to help developing Commonwealth nations benefit from India s global value chains, tapping into the diversification of their export markets and improvements to their supply chain capacity," he noted.
The first-ever London meeting follows on from the Commonwealth Business Forum in Malta in November 2015 and has been described as an attempt to kick-start an ambitious agenda ahead of the 2018 Commonwealth Summit in the UK.
"Looking forward, Britain will lead the charge for a freer and fairer trading system and we want our Commonwealth partners and friends to join with us. That’s why we will use this meeting to continue conversations around how to minimise disruption, remove barriers and ensure a win-win approach to our future trading relations," said Lord Price, minister of state in the Department for International Trade.
The meeting is the UK s attempt at creating new, stronger trade ties with Commonwealth countries as it leaves the European Union (EU).
While Britain cannot initiate any bilateral free trade agreements (FTAs) until the official Brexit process is complete, it is focussing on exploring ties through such multi-lateral fora.
The 52 member-states in the Commonwealth boast a combined population of over 2.4 billion people.
Latest figures show intra-Commonwealth trade has grown faster than the global average over the past 10 years, and is projected to be worth $1 trillion a year by 2020.