The speakers of the 4th Meeting of the Cyprus-India Virtual Club focused on the challenges and opportunities arising from the pandemic, emphasizing on the prospects for change and reform.
Prudence the key in tackling financial consequences
The former Minister of Finance, Michalis Sarris, pointed out that the island has coped effectively with the pandemic crisis, along with Greece and other countries. "The elements of success are related to the very strong and clear messages given, the demonstration of trust in experts and the epidemiological team and, at the same time, building trust with the people in a short time span,” he said.
He went on to say that that social distancing has helped in dealing with the pandemic, while the health system responded effectively to the challenges.
At the same time, he added that the government found the right mechanisms to support companies and employees, who were inevitably affected by the lockdown.
However, he warned that "we may have won the first battle, but we must be careful when it comes to our health and be sensible with our financial management."
He further explained that improving growth levels will help address the high levels of debt created. Among other things, Sarris stressed that prudence is the key to tackling the problem, as no one knows when the pandemic will end.
A crisis creates opportunities
Rajat Kathuria, Director and Chief Executive, Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER), said that the industrious forces of India are comprised of young people, noting that the pandemic offers the potential for reform.
"India has shown that it can adapt and make changes in times of crisis," he said.
He also expressed the belief that the coronavirus crisis could become a lever for reforms in areas such as the labour market, the capital market and the retail market.
He also stressed that a crisis like the current one can be seen as advantageous, as India, like other countries, can become more resilient on the long run.
Asked about the India-China trade relations, he explained that trade – a tool for peace – can also fall prey to the political purposes of certain countries, citing US-China relations as an example.
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