Prising open new markets requires much more than offering products at competitive prices. Today, it requires the active support of governments for private firms. India has been a laggard in this respect while China has used every tool at its disposal to help its companies and has leapt ahead.
This rankles much more when companies from other countries stitch lucrative deals in South Asia and our firms can only wring their hands in desperation.
On Sunday, the Union government took a step in rectifying the situation when commerce minister Anand Sharma announced a deal for a substantial buyer’s credit package to Bangladesh (Page 11). This money will be used to fund development in that country by spending it on project-related imports from India.
Bangladesh should be seen as an experiment in this respect. If this works well, it should be quickly scaled up both in Dhaka and elsewhere.