European and Indian negotiators will sit down in New Delhi on February 10 amid optimistic talk that they will complete a free trade agreement. If they do, they’ll be initialising a deal for India in haste. For many reasons, it’s better they keep their pens dry, enjoy a good dinner, shake hands and go home.
A trade negotiation with the world’s largest exporter automatically puts India on the defensive. India needs to broaden the definition of these negotiations to conform to the current composition and weakness of its economy. Delhi’s negotiators are reluctant to explain what and where the pact’s benefits would fall in this vast marketplace. There isn’t even a mechanism for India’s 28 states to approve the agreement, while all European governments will have that right.