In an apparent swipe at China, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has told a global summit on supply chain resilience that trusted sources and transparency are among key factors for enhancing global supply chains.
The summit, convened on the margins of the G20 Summit in Rome by US President Joe Biden, was attended by leaders of the European Union, the UK, Australia, Canada, Germany, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Netherlands, South Korea and Singapore.
Though there were no direct references to China in the deliberations, the country and its outsize role in supply chains has been a concern for most of the countries that attended the meeting.
“I believe three factors are most important to improve global supply chains – trusted source, transparency, and time frame. It is necessary that our supply should be from trusted sources. This is important for our shared security,” Modi said, speaking in Hindi.
“Trusted sources should also be such that they do not have a reactive tendency so that supply chains are protected from a tit-for-tat approach. For the reliability of supply chains, it is also necessary that there should be transparency in them. Due to lack of transparency, today we are seeing that many companies of the world are grappling with the shortage of small things,” he said.
There are large losses if supplies are not provided in time, and this was seen during the Covid-19 pandemic, when pharmaceutical and medical supplies were not provided on time, Modi said. “So, we will have to diversify our supply chains so that supplies are delivered within a time frame. And for this, alternative manufacturing capacity must be enhanced in developed countries,” he added.
Modi said India has built a reputation as a trusted source for pharmaceutical products and IT. “We are looking forward to play our part in the clean technology supply chain. I suggest that we instruct our teams to meet at the earliest to draw up an action plan based on our shared democratic values within a given time frame,” he said.
India has increased the pace of Covid-19 vaccine exports to improve the global supply of doses and is working with its partners in the Quadrilateral Security Dialogue or Quad to supply cost-effective vaccines to the Indo-Pacific region, he said.
India plans to manufacture five billion doses of Covid-19 vaccines for the world next year and there should be no hindrance in the supply of raw materials to achieve this objective, he said.
With the world preparing for post-pandemic economic recovery, problems in the supply of semiconductors and other commodities are hampering healthy growth, Modi noted.
The US-led summit discussed near-term supply chain disruptions and ways to long-term resilience. “Secure, sustainable, and resilient global supply chains are foundational to our economic prosperity, national security, and collective interests. Countries expressed intent for working together to strengthen the resilience of our supply chains,” said a chair’s statement issued by the US White House.
The meeting focused on strengthening four pillars of global supply chain resilience – transparency, diversity, openness and predictability, security, and sustainability.
In his opening remarks, Biden said, “Now that we have seen how vulnerable these lines of global commerce can be, we cannot go back to business as usual. This pandemic won’t be the last global health crisis we face. We also need to increase our resilience in the face of climate change, natural disasters, and even planned attacks.”
Biden said the US has been working with partners to bolster supply chains around the world since the beginning of the year. He also announced two new initiatives – additional funding to help US partners cut port congestion by slashing red tape and reducing processing times so that ships can get in and out of our ports faster, and an executive order to strengthen the management of US defence stockpiles for minerals and materials that will allow the country to react more quickly to shortfalls in the industrial base.
“The best way to reduce current delays and build in greater resilience for the future is to work together across the entire supply chain, from raw materials to warehousing and distribution,” Biden said.