India decides not to join RCEP

India has decided not to join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) deal as negotiations failed to address New Delhi’s outstanding issues and concerns. Prime Minister Narendra Modi made the announcement during his speech at the RCEP Summit in Bangkok yesterday, which was attended by several world leaders. Mr Modi said, the present form of the agreement does not fully reflect the basic spirit and the agreed guiding principles. He said the agreement also did not satisfactorily address India’s outstanding issues and concerns, hence it was not possible for New Delhi to sign it. The Prime Minister said India stands for greater regional integration as well as for more free trade and adherence to a rule-based international order.

Later, speaking at a press conference in Bangkok, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs, Vijay Thakur Singh said India’s core issues would not be compromised and the latest decision has been taken in the interest of the nation. Ms Thakur said the RCEP agreement with China and ASEAN countries does not reflect its original intent, and the outcome is not balanced.

AIR correspondent reports during his visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi took part in 16th India-ASEAN summit and 14th East Asia summit. Mr. Modi asked ASEAN countries to combat terrorism and extremism in the region. The Prime Minister also appealed to participating countries to come together to take stern against those nations who are providing shelter to terrorists and extremists. Mr. Modi reaffirmed India’s commitment to strengthen strategic and economic cooperation. On the sidelines of summits, Prime Minister Modi held bilateral meetings with his counterparts of Australia, Japan, Vietnam, and Thailand. Besides, he also held discussions with President of Indonesia Joko Widod and Myanmar’s State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi. Leaders of these countries agreed to further strengthen the bilateral cooperation for achieving the shared objective of peace, prosperity, and progress of the Indo-Pacific region. Besides, the leaders also discussed the threat of extremism and terrorism and agreed to work closely to tackle the menace. In Golden Jubilee Celebrations of Aditya Birla Group, Mr. Modi exhorted industrialists to invest in India. The Prime Minister also addressed the Indian diaspora in Bangkok for the first time.

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