New Delhi [India]: Union Minister of Commerce and Industries Piyush Goyal on Friday called for free trade within a rules-based multilateral trading system with honesty and transparency as core values.
His remarks came at the 54th Convocation of the Indian Institute of Foreign Trade (IIFT) in New Delhi on Friday. Addressing the event, Goyal said convocation is an important ceremony that marks the next step in the journey of the graduates when they grow from ‘acquisition of knowledge’ to ‘application of knowledge’.
He commended IIFT for contributing immensely to India’s external trade since its establishment in 1963. He said that IIFT has been widely recognized for its strong knowledge and resource base and has been consistently ranked amongst the leading business schools in the Asia-Pacific Region.
Underscoring the need for committed, vibrant, leadership in the field of academics in India, Goyal said that there is a need to enhance the exposure of our students to the best of technology, foreign law, economics, and international trade.
Calling for tie-ups of Indian Universities with institutions of eminence across the world, he asked Indian universities to enter into sustained collaborations with such institutions.
Encouraging academic institutions to engage on a much larger scale with the industry, the union minister asked students to take up internships with both the public sector and private players. Speaking of the opportunities offered by online education, Goyal called for more exploration into online and hybrid modes of education.
Goyal told the students that they were graduating amidst one of the most disruptive events in the collective memory of our times. He emphasized that in the post-COVID ‘new normal’, one can no longer play by the old rules.
He called for using the disruptive interventions brought about by COVID to disrupt our conventional, traditional thinking processes. Offering two cents from his versatile experience in foreign trade Goyal urged the students to ‘Learn, Unlearn, Relearn and Repeat’.
Applauding Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visionary leadership, Goyal said that India’s decisive leadership, its strong industry, its vibrant media and its resolve to uphold the rule of law, had made India a trusted partner to world nations.
He said that India is being looked at as a trusted partner and is engaging with like-minded nations like the European Union, United Kingdom, Canada, Australia and UAE for early conclusion of Free trade Agreements (FTA).
He added that wherever India faces unfair or unjust treatment, it will take reciprocal action. Goyal also emphasized the need for the resolution of issues posed by Non-Tariff barriers in international trade.
Referring to India’s ambitious programs like the PM GatiShakti National Master Plan for infrastructure and multimodal connectivity, Goyal said that there was a need for planned, focussed efforts to create infrastructure in the country by breaking silos and bringing in synergy.
“There is a need to bring in quality and productivity in all we do. A ‘Made in India’ product must be a guarantee to the world”, he added.
Lamenting that India had suffered from several missed opportunities in the past, Goyal expressed hope that we would now be able to seize every opportunity available to us to grow.
“The past is a stepping stone, not a millstone”, he added.
Observing that contemporary India was confident and yet dissatisfied, he said that dissatisfied, confident people are the ones who would change the world. He urged fellow Indians to never settle for less and to work together to make India a global leader.
Referring to India’s recent achievement of administration of 100 crores COVID vaccines, he said that the milestone was the result of a collective effort of 130 crore Indians and a proof of India’s ‘Atmanirbhartha’ and its resolve to leverage its capacities to the best possible extent and to serve the needs of the entire world.