Networking: Connecting with the Indian diaspora is the best way for Western firms to effectively reach India’s domestic market, speakers at an Indian chamber conference have said.
Photo: Luc Deflorenne
Firms in the Grand Duchy have the world’s best conduits for accessing one of the world’s largest emerging markets right at hand, attendees of an Indian Business Chamber of Luxembourg conference have heard.
The IBCL confab, “Business potential between Luxembourg and the Indian diaspora”, aimed to promote trade and investment in India by helping European firms tap the South Asian nation’s more than 30 million migrants and their descendants.
“Today India is hailed as an ‘emerging power’”, Sudhir Kohli, president of the IBCL, observed in his introductory remarks. “Before the 18th century, India was a dominant player in the world economy.” At their economic peaks, “India and China together accounted for close to 50% of world GDP.” So “what we really are witnessing is a re-emergence”.
However “Luxembourg-India economic and commercial relations have not expanded as they should have,” according to Kohli. “The two countries must identify different mechanisms to expand this scope either through a bilateral free trade agreement or enhanced cooperation in various sectors.”
He also reckoned that the Grand Duchy’s business community “should take advantage of the Indian diaspora that has emerged in Luxembourg”.
Indeed, keynote speaker Ravi Sidhoo noted the economic and political influence the Indian diaspora has achieved, particularly in the US, UK and several Middle East and African countries, which he said in turn “has played an important role improving the relations of India with rest of the world”.
India’s vital economic link
The diaspora accounts for a large portion of the country’s inward investment and “contributes approximately 40% of India’s foreign exchange reserves” in large portion through remittances, reported Sidhoo, who is global head of South Asian business at KBL European Private Bankers in London.
He advised Western businesses to view the diaspora community as a bridge to India’s domestic marketing, observing that there is “no better local brand ambassador to India than members of the Indian diaspora”.
Luxembourg labour and immigration minister Nicolas Schmit, who attended the conference, said he was “open” to finding ways to help larger numbers of qualified Indian nationals work in the Grand Duchy.
The event was held May 15 at the Luxembourg Chamber of Commerce in Kirchberg.