At a time when multilateralism is threatened by regional trading blocs, it is important for emerging markets like India to strengthen people-to-people (P2P) and business-to-business (B2B) relations, a noted strategic expert said here Friday.
"Regional trading blocs, earlier seen as aiding growth of multilateral trade and investments, are today becoming the hammers to break down multilateralism. It therefore becomes important for emerging markets like India to build and nurture people-to-people (P2P) and business-to-business (B2B) relations as economic and business interests have come to define inter-country relations," Sanjaya Baru, director for Geo-Economics and Strategy at London's International Institute of Strategic Studies, said.
Addressing the valedictory session of industry chamber FICCI and the External Affairs Ministry co-organised India-Central Europe Business Forum (ICEBF), against the backdrop of the on-going crisis in Ukraine, Baru expressed concern at the growing trend of protectionism in Europe.
He said though India's B2B relations with central European countries have traditionally not been high, P2P ties were growing, driven by travel and tourism as cenrtal European countries offer value for money destinations.
"The time has come to shift from trade to investment ties and develop common supply chains for entry into European and other markets," Baru said.
Earlier, Rahul Chhabra, joint Secretary (Central Europe) in the ministry said that in view of the tremendous response to the forum by businesses from both India and the central Europe reagion, the government proposed to make ICEBF an annual feature.