India, ASEAN Should Work Together In Digital Arena: Ravi Shankar Prasad

Angelo Anderson
January 23, 2018

India and the ASEAN countries share a common thread of traditional designs and exquisite weaving art which they are seeking to convert into a strength.

New Delhi, however, remained non-committal with Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu saying that India would continue to seek a balanced outcome of the negotiation on the RCEP, covering not only goods, but also services and investment.

Addressing the valedictory session of Asean-India Business and Investment Meet and Expo here, Jaitley said the growth story of Asean countries was quite similar to the Indian story as growth eluded both these regions when the Western world was growing at a fast pace.

"I believe India will not disappoint ASEAN".

"India and the ASEAN nations represent an aspirational world".

Referring to Prime Minister Narendra Modi's speech at the World Economic Forum meet in Davos, where among three challenges, he listed more inward looking policies by countries; Jaitley noted that India stands as an exception. The 16-member RCEP comprises 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Malaysia, Myanmar, Singapore, Thailand, the Philippines, Laos and Vietnam) and their 6 FTA partners - India, China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

"It is important to address the sensitivity of member countries and their aspirations as negotiations gather momentum".

Prabhu stressed that India is looking forward to further deepening our engagement with ASEAN, with all the special commemorative events lined up for the next few days, celebrating our Shared Values and Common Destiny. "Keeping this in view, India will be working closely and constructively with all RCEP member countries, particularly Asean, towards early conclusion of negotiations", he added.

India has been resisting pressure from China and the other RCEP nations to bring down or eliminate the tariff on 90% of the traded items.

"And India has already demonstrated that it has even the capacity to grow during adversity". RCEP is a mega trade pact among these countries and aims to cover goods, services, investments, economic and technical cooperation, competition and intellectual property rights. The proposed deal seeks to bring together the economies that account for 39% of the world's GDP. "Unquestionably, in the period of 25 years, India would perhaps be one of the three largest economies in the world". The negotiation for the TPP, however, suffered a setback earlier this year after the U.S. withdrew from it soon after the change of guard in Washington.

Other reports by Iphone Fresh

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