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.
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The foreign ministers of the Quad countries meet for the first time in New York today even as the Indo-Pacific has turned into a keenly contested geopolitical arena. Some countries are offering to play a mediatory role while other triangular equations are also undergoing change. An analysis of some of the relationships at work here
Indonesia and Malaysia appreciate India’s leadership role in the Indo-Pacific, but are also aware of all that keeps it from delivering on its commitments. A policy visit to the two countries enabled a closer look at some key issues, such as ASEAN’s centrality, the Quad and India’s stand on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership
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
The Trans-Pacific Partnership has dropped strong Intellectual Property Rights regulations on India’s doorstep. The implications of these regulations could affect India’s own policies, as well as her global aspirations towards the potential Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership.
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
Can India integrate more fully into the global economy and energise its trade by joining the Trans-Pacific Partnership? Or will negotiating an entry require significant concessions, not necessarily in India’s interests? These outcomes will depend on how TPP framework itself develops – inclusively or exclusively
The India-Japan alliance needs to be viewed through a prism broader than that of "containing" China, and by treating the Indian and Pacific oceans as a single entity. Such an alliance has the potential to strengthen the geopolitical security of India and Japan, along with that of all their allies and associates