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Ambassador’s Keynote Address at the Virtual Launch of Representative Offices of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India

Posted on: April 02, 2021 | Back | Print

Thank you for inviting me at this virtual launch of the Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh Representative offices of the Institute of Chartered Accountants of India (ICAI).  I congratulate ICAI on launching two representative offices in Vietnam. At a time when nothing much is happening in physical terms due to COVID-related restrictions, it is refreshing to participate in a ceremony for opening of Rep. Offices. 

I am sure that these offices in Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City would help ICAI in providing Vietnam-specific services to its members and would expand its reach in the ASEAN region.

ICAI has set the benchmark in providing efficient and professional accountancy within India and beyond. It has evolved from being an institution providing accounting services to now playing the diverse role of being advisors to regulators on financial markets, taxation, banking, insurance, corporate laws, reforms in accounting etc.  By continuing to assimilate best global practices and excellence in professional accountancy, ICAI is now amongst the largest accounting bodies in the World.

Today’s initiative by ICAI with regard to Vietnam comes at an important time when we are celebrating some important milestones in our relations with Vietnam. First of all, this year we have launched the celebrations for the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence. This year we are also celebrating the fifth anniversary of the establishment of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between India and Vietnam. In January 2022, we will be marking the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between our two countries.

The last fifty years have been a remarkable journey of togetherness as both India and Vietnam have overcome adversities to pursue nation-building and socio-economic transformation. The depth of our ties has been affirmed frequently in our relations, most recently when we elevated our relations to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Vietnam in September 2016.

Of course, the larger context for all discussions these days is the impact of VOVID-19 pandemic and a realization that we need to rethink the business as usual to adapt better to such uncertainties in future.

There are many lessons and realizations that we have learnt over the last one year’s experience in dealing with this pandemic.

In the context of our economic relations with Vietnam, the lesson we have is that though COVID-19 has brought disruptions it has also opened up new opportunities for us to sieze.  COVID-19 has pushed us into rethinking the way we engage with each other and it is there that new opportunities emerge. Given our supply chain as well as demand disruptions in the wake of COVID-19, we are all exploring new supply chains and new partnerships. I think this is an opportunity for us to actually expand our trading engagement by identifying new supply chains located in each other’s country. 

In India, one of the biggest realizations that we have had is that we need to have a self-reliant India.  The Prime Minister’s vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat – or “Self-Reliant India” – is one of the paramount policy focusses that we currently have.  This vision of “self-reliance” is not about isolationism, but about building capacities at home so that we can become better contributors to the global well-being, integrate more effectively in the global value chains, and be of greater utility to our partners.  A “self-reliant India” will be an important platform on which we can build our economic engagement with Vietnam. This is recognized in the Joint Vision adopted by our two Prime Ministers on 21st December 2020.

We also have this belief that India’s post-pandemic economic revival will lead the global economic revival. India’s strengths and capabilities, which will be developed as we come out of the shadows of the pandemic, will not just create grounds for India’s future growth, but will also be the engine for global growth, generating opportunities for our partners, such as Vietnam.

And to seize this moment, to turn this crisis into an opportunity, in India, our Government is undertaking far-reaching reforms in a wide range of areas – from labour to land, from agriculture to manufacturing, from education to MSMEs – all aiming at India’s revival in a big way and with the confidence that the India that will emerge after the pandemic will be a stronger India than the one we saw before the pandemic.  And on this path, we will create opportunities for all our partners.

As Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi has said, India offers our partners three O’s – Opportunity, Openness and Options. We hope that this seminar will open a new door for deeper investment and economic engagement with the global community.

At the recently held Virtual Summit between our Prime Ministers on 21st December last year, when they adopted a historic “Joint vision for Peace, Prosperity and People”, they recognized the strong complementarities based on India’s large domestic market and vision of self-reliance on the one hand, and Vietnam’s growing economic vitality and capabilities on the other, both sides will constantly upgrade their economic engagement by facilitating long-term investments in each other’s economies, promoting joint ventures, and engaging in new global value chains.

This emphasis on long-term investment in each other’s economy is where I think ICAI can be a strong enabler and partner in our efforts by helping our businesses link up with each other.

We have set an economic vision of making India a US$ 5 trillion economy over the coming years. This is not just a number that we are talking about. This is also about providing good governance; enabling grassroots empowerment through participation and technology; and achieving sustainable and inclusive development. This journey from our current US$ 3 trillion economy to US$ 5 trillion economy is going to create capacities and demands which will throw open significant opportunities for our close partners like Vietnam, to engage in our growth story and benefit from it.

India values Vietnam as an important pillar of its Act East policy and its Indo-Pacific Vision. In both these constructs, we place a lot of importance on 3 C’s – Connectivity, Commerce and Culture. ICAI can play an important role in reinforcing our engagement with Vietnam under those policies.

It’s heartening that ICAI is present in 44 countries and this number is expected to grow more with time. This is in line with the vision of Aatmanirbhar Bharat where our enhanced capabilities would contribute to the common global welfare. I am glad that ICAI has mutual recognition arrangements with leading institutes as well as capacity development arrangements in several countries. Its only befitting that MEA has engaged ICAI for conducting training government officials from various countries under its ITEC programme and has also recognized the overseas Chapters of ICAI at par with our other Apex Trade and Industry organizations for purposes of economic engagement and consular facilitations.

We see contribution from ICAI in Fintech, investments, joint ventures, mergers & acquisitions in the current push from our Government. With over 350,000 members out of which more than 40,000 are in different countries, I am sure that ICAI would continue expanding its presence around the globe extending its expert advice on various issues.

I wish ICAI all success for its venture in Vietnam and assure you of all support from the Embassy of India and CGI in your future initiatives.

Thank you.