The 35th summit of the Association of South East Asian Nations, held in Bangkok early in November, showed that a shifting geostrategic landscape notwithstanding, “ASEAN centrality” in the region is a top priority with members. It also served as a backdrop for three summits that ASEAN held on November 4 with China, U.S. and India
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There have been mixed reactions to India’s not signing on to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. India is often criticised for abstaining from trade agreements and being a protectionist nation, but in fact, the reverse is true. The country’s trade to GDP ratio of 43% is higher than China’s 38% and the U.S.’ 27%. This shows how important trade is for India, particularly if it wants to reach the 2024 goal of being a $5- trillion economy.
Canada, which has been slow to respond to a changing trans-Pacific neighbourhood, can join India and the ASEAN member states to embark on a trilateral dialogue on the Indo-Pacific’s importance in terms of political, strategic and other domains. An alignment in outlook can strengthen the security and prosperity of a region, currently mired in U.S.-China rivalries
The following remarks were given by Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, Gateway House as a speaker at the ASEAN-India Business Summit on November 27, 2018.
The following remarks were given by Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, Gateway House as chair at the Inauguration of the Centre for Vietnam Studies in New Delhi on May 15, 2018
China has expanded its presence in the Indian Ocean Region. President Xi Jinping has abandoned Deng Xiaoping’s conciliatory posture for an aggressive, money-fuelled search for super power status
In two years, the Modi government’s Act East Policy has gone well beyond the focus on economic ties of its predecessor, the Look East Policy. It has made progress on many wider fronts, including connectivity and defence collaboration. India must now build on this success and further consolidate relations and trade links with ASEAN and beyond
The U.S.-driven Trans Pacific Partnership agreement between 12 countries, which is aiming to become the new standard of world trade, impacts domestic systems globally. For India, it will skew investment and intellectual property rights, and especially the debate over the Investor State Dispute System which allows companies to challenge sovereign rights and public policy.
Although it is too soon to comprehensively analyse the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement of October 5, it is worth assessing what is known. Here are the facts, the controversies, the assessments, and the implications for countries that are not part of the agreement, especially India.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership might soon be concluded if the U.S. Congress fast-tracks it, as recently announced, while the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement remains on slow-track. But the TPP, although ambitious, follows an outdated template, and it is the dynamic RCEP that can be a model for a new global rules-based framework