November 17, 2020 2:00:56 am
A day after the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement (RCEP) was signed by 15 countries — without India — External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said on Monday that the impact of past pacts has been de-industrialisation and the consequences of future ones would lock India into “global commitments” — many of them not to India’s advantage.
He also said that those who argue “stressing openness and efficiency” do not present the full picture, and that this was “equally a world of non-tariff barriers of subsidies and state capitalism” — an oblique reference to China.
“In the name of openness, we have allowed subsidised products and unfair production advantages from abroad to prevail. And all the while, this was justified by the mantra of an open and globalised economy… The choice was to double down on an approach whose damaging consequences were already apparent; or to have the courage to think through the problem for ourselves. We chose the latter,” Jaishankar said at the Deccan Dialogue — an event organised by MEA and Indian School of Business, Hyderabad.
He said the outlook of Atmanirbhar Bharat is “crucial”. “This approach, instead of allowing others to decide our future prospects, is a case for building strong national capabilities and deep strengths. It is far from turning our back on the world; in fact, it is to enter the global arena with cards to play, not just to provide a market for others,” he said.
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