Our special interviewee is born in Bathinda, district of Punjab in India. Before he settled down in Jalandhar City, he had experience of living in various cities of Punjab. He did B.Sc, Medical and MBA Marketing from Punjabi University Patiala in 1990 . He had more than 30 years of working experience with Government of India (24 Yrs plus) and private sector (6 Years in Pharmaceuticals Ceramics & Services)promoting International Business from India.

Arabic center for international cooperation had honor to interview Mr. Opinder Singh - Presently working as a CEO OF MAIQ International Bathinds and Senior Consultant (International Trade) with M/s Banga International, Ludhiana a Company into Exports of Apparels business. Recently Got Voluntary Retirement in October 2020, from Government job (Sr Deputy Director with EEPC India Set up by Ministry of Commerce & Industry )to start his own Business and do social work.

You are very successful. What was your motivation and where did you get your inspiration from?

My Grandfather, Shri Bishan Singh Hindi, was a Freedom Fighter in India’s Struggle for Freedom movement named Gadar Lehar. My father,Sh Iqbal Singh, was principal of a College and I had the honor to serve in National Service Scheme through various programs of Rural Development under his kind guidance and support. My mother, Ms Manjit Kaur, was a home maker but she was lucky to teach us serve the dignitaries like Past and present Chief Ministers of Punjab along with other dignitaries during their visits to our official residence in Talwandi Sabo Distt Bathinds the fifth Holy Takhat of Damdama Sahib .I got my inspiration from al the three of them ,which were also my role models also.

Your definition of success?

I always give credit to Transparency ,Sincerity , hard work and discipline with down to earth low profile that is the fundamental of a peaceful life and makes you available to all type of people around you comfortably. That also helps you learning the art of synchronizing with all standards of life without malice towards anyone. Following the principles of truthfulness and sincerity you can justify your earnings and the success is not far away.

Your definition of a REALLY GOOD BUSINESS TEAM?

Business Teams grow with motivation ,mutual understanding and division of Labor with a single objective towards achieving organizational Goals, with sense of social security and loyalty . I had travelled almost 16 plus major countries (America, Europe, Africa and Asia on business and pleasure trips). One thing is common for all - you get along well with like minded and good people and they make you creative in your profession and business .If you, somehow ,don’t get good team mates, then you get a lesson for life and a good experience. I always keep one thing in mind - all people, good or bad, are your experience and ability to make them work to achieve your common goals .

What are the most famous business events in India?

We have all type of events in India for all sectors of business like Apparels food, Pharma, IT, Auto sector ,Tools , sports, handicrafts and services. Some of the major events are IMTEX Show for Machine Tools in Bangaluru , IESS Show in Chennai, Auto Expo in New Delhi and so many product specific shows are available during the year.

Please tell us something more about outsourcing process and work options in engineering industry in your country?

One of the biggest advantages of Indian industry is that we are number one in Information technology that is our USP .Hence, all engineering and precision industry can depend on us for any type of job work done from India with high sophistication .Most of the high tech companies are sourcing their machinery parts from India. Our labor cost is comparatively low and we have rich resources of food production to feed the population of 1360000000, which is almost 1/5th of the whole world population. Our 2/3rd population is in farming sector and 1/3rd in Trade and business including industry rest in service sector all are contributing to our industrial strength.

What is the scope of agriculture output exchange (and major crops) of India?

India has major Rabi (October to june ), Maize Barley Wheat and Kharif crops(Rice ground nut Cotton Bajra Urd Moong Jute). From march to july, between Rabi and Kharif crops, we have fodder, seasonal, vegetables and fruits. We are exporting many types of rice and famous one is ”basmati rice”. High quality Apple & Mangos are the latest craze from India in exports. We also export most of the vegetables and fruits to many cold countries. We also export lot of pulses of all types – tea, coffee and condiments from India. Recently there is scope for packed /canned food items and processed food items like pickles, juices, Papads and also some local brands of wine ,whisky and bear. We import lot of edible oils, coffee, seasonal fruits, dry milk and select fruits from some European and Asian Countries.

What is most produced and exported product by India and to which countries it is exported the most?

Rice, pulses, tea, coffee, apple, mango, jaggery ,Cotton, Medicine and sugar are the mostly produced and sold in developed international markets like USA/RUSSIA /UAE/EUROPE and some of the Arabian countries .

Which are the most valuable natural resources of your country?

We have iron, ore, coal, marble, granite, manganese, diamond and table salts , which makes us almost 5th largest producer in the world.

We know so little about the tourist offer of India. At which level is it and how would you rate it?

I would like to say we are culturally very rich country. We have some world famous unique monuments like Taj Mahal, Golden Temple, Tirupati Temple, Mahenjo-daro and Haddappa Caves of ancient Arya Civilization. Then we have Mount Everest hills and coastal region full of natural beauty. We have deserts ,jungles and rivers lot of sea side beaches .But unfortunately ,you are very right - we are not able to market our tourism very well and it could be a rich source of foreign exchange for the country to service its huge oil products import bill. Our own oil industry is not able even to serve 1/3rd of our own demand. There is huge scope for tourism in India .I would try my best to help anyone need any help with mutual co-operation to promote tourism. Some of the business promotion events are organized on partial refund of expenses to the Business tourists. Our foreign trade policy is having provisions for sourcing from India.

Can you tell us something more about medical tourism in India?

Medical tourism is a fast growing industry in India as medical services are very good quality and less expensive. We have world’s best hospitals and experts in medical profession .Now this industry is growing very fast Most of the non resident Indians also prefer to get treatments from India because its very competitive .Nowadays yoga and spiritualization tourism is also one of the most preferred industry .across the country.

Is there any cultural programs of exchange exhibitions and tourism?

Yes, there are many cultural group exchange programs in the country and many countries are attending for a long period of time. India is known for its rich heritage and folk dances like Bhangra Gidhha, Bharat Natyam, other classical south Indian and Rajasathan dances, Punjabi Folk Dance there are many in different states . Bhangra is one of the most accepted and world famous dance, and even you can see all our state guests are enjoying these dances. It was happening until 2019.

If you had to single out 5 specific things related to your country, which five items would it be?

1. I love India for its traditional values and joint family culture. Although westernization has eroded many cultural values. But still we are enjoying our traditional values.

2. I love my country for the richness of its art and culture .That could be observed from the ancient monuments like Red forte ,Taj Mahal ,Golden temple (Harimandir Sahib) and India Gate etc.

3. I love India for its festivals like Dewali, Dusherra, Holi, Baisakhi. All festivals motivate us to serve the humanity , help the needful and win of good over bad.

4. This is the only country where most of the festivals serve free food for all without any differences.

5. We may be different culturally, state vise, language vise but we all belong to one India. During any competition in sports or any threat of war, we stand united to encourage our team or army, while forgetting our own differences .

What are the specialties that are prepared in your country and which is your favorite?

I love Punjabi Food as its world famous and has lot of nutritious value and famous flavor of the soil of India .Sarson Da Saag and Makki Di Roti, served with fresh white butter and sour milk, is a famous vegetarian Punjabi food when it’s served with Garlic chatni. One sweet is called Dhodha Sweet and it is made in Kotkapoora, small city of Punjab. It’s very tasty and no one can get the recipe because it’s a family secret. I also like sweets made in Indian style - Kheer (rice and milk with dry fruit), Samosa (mashed potato with condiments and sour sauce - a snack in a chapatti wrap) and non veg chicken Bariyani. Also, I would mention Indian tea,Kari Chawal ,Masala Dosa and Allu Da Prantha as my favorites.

Can you tell to us something more about culture and tradition of India?

I love Punjabi Food as its world famous and has lot of nutritious value and famous flavor of the soil of India .Sarson Da Saag and Makki Di Roti, served with fresh white butter and sour milk, is a famous vegetarian Punjabi food when it’s served with Garlic chatni. One sweet is called Dhodha Sweet and it is made in Kotkapoora, small city of Punjab. It’s very tasty and no one can get the recipe because it’s a family secret. I also like sweets made in Indian style - Kheer (rice and milk with dry fruit), Samosa (mashed potato with condiments and sour sauce - a snack in a chapatti wrap) and non veg chicken Bariyani. Also, I would mention Indian tea,Kari Chawal ,Masala Dosa and Allu Da Prantha as my favorites.

Animals are highly valued in your country can you tell us something more about that approach?

That’s right. We have various communities in India but most of us love and respect all the mammals in our country, as they are part of our culture. You can judge one country by the way they treat their animals. That includes my country too

Have you ever visited Serbia and have you had cooperation with any company from Serbia?

I have not visited Serbia before, but I would love to visit as I heard a lot from the industry friends who visited Serbia and I am in touch with some friends on Linkedin who keep me updated about beautiful buildings and beauty of Serbia through the historical buildings. Before Covid there was a Trade Fair by Serbia for agriculture Industry. I helped Indian Embassy in Serbia through my friends to generate participation through awareness programs organized in India before the show. I even helped in printing the dual language catalogue for Indian participants and Serbian industry to create awareness about agriculture implements sector potential in India.My state Punjab in North India is a hub for manufacturing all types of agriculture implements , combine harvesters and tractors.

What is the potential for collaboration between Indian and Serbian industry?

I see lot of avenues for collaboration between both countries .We can purpose Ministry of external affairs from both sides for cooperation to allow India to build one centre in Serbia, which will be displaying all potential exchange, goods and programs from India, and opposite - one centre displaying potential of Serbia to offer its goods and services under exchange program . We have a special subject called Jugad management which is quck resolution of any problem. Its very popular in North India and now a subject in some western countries also.

How we can increase awareness about each other for a symbiotic relationship between two countries?

Good relations are developed through good business. We can increase awareness of each other’s country through virtual meetings on trade and industry and also on traditional and cultural similarities in both the countries. Both countries can offer scholarships to aspiring students to study opportunities of mutual benefits under culture exchange programs and industry exchange programs etc. Seminars on investments opportunities in both the countries can be organized. We can have a joined team of members from both countries to offer help in establishing links with local industry in sector specific collaborations. We should publish and also organize business and tourism delegations to help develop a symbiotic relation between two culturally and traditionally rich countries.

Some Serbian businessmen are founding companies in India, can you tell us something more about business culture in your country?

Indian Business Communities are different in different states. It all depeneds on the type of business and size of business. There are some small and micro businesses which are not professionally managed and some medium and large scale industries are well managed and you can have a history report of performance of the business from financial institutes and some of the local sector specific agencies can guide you about potential and reliable business. We can also help in investment opportunities in India depending on the scale of investments in engineering , agriculture, food, agri impliments, healthcare, tourism and apparel industry. Our Director General of Foreign Trade department in Ministry of Commerce and Industry always help business from other countries to do safe and trouble free business. We have parameters to check the health of a business unit .Whether it’s a good prospectus or not for investment purpose or doing good business.

Have you had a opportunity to try some Serbian products?

I wasn’t lucky enough to get a chance to try any Serbian products so far.

Which 10 locations would you recommend to tourists from Serbia to visit in your country?

I would recommend: 1.Dharmashala & Shimla in -Himachal Pradesh

2.Ooty in - Tamil Naddu

3.Tajmahal in Agra -Uttar Pradesh

4.Golden temple in -Punjab

5.Goa the beach town

6.Tirupti Temple- Andhra Pradesh

7.Jaipur the Pink City in Rajasthan

8.Ladakh City-Jammu & Kashmir

9.Kerala city in -Kerala

10.Mysore Palace in- Karnataka

What is your message for young people who will read this interview?

If you love to enjoy all seasons on this earth in one country - that’s India .We should use information from internet only to get a first hand information to start with any adventure or business you take on, but doing it yourself and with your own wisdom and knowledge, is the real practical experience .India is a very big, beautiful, culturally rich country with lot of traditions .You must visit it for at least once for your life time experience. It’s a big country with lot of opportunities for business to make you succeed, as it’s a very big market for anything you want to sell. You can experiment launching of a new product, as most of the International countries first try their luck in India to succeed in other markets, based on their experience in India .Because we have market for all category of products as we have customer for all types of products that you can make .People of my country are very polite and warm towards tourists and visitors from other countries .Feel free and your are very welcome. Good time to visit India is all times as in summers you can visit our hill stations and in winters (Nov., Dec., Jan & feb)you enjoy the whole country. Rely upon yourself and please take the first step forward if you need any help - I am there for you. My very special thanks to my wonderful team of friends from Media Ms Sanja Ben Mesbaha and Ms Jana Aleksic for making this interview happen and I wish them best of luck.

Please contact me any time my whats app number is: 0091 9814021886 imopinder@yahoo.com