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Missed the bus says Chinese media on India not joining RCEP

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New Delhi, Nov 16: China has said that India missed the bus with its decision not to join the China led 15 country Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) that was signed on Sunday at an online ceremony hosted by this years ASEAN chair, Vietnam.

The 15 countries that signed the deal include China, Japan, South Korea, Australia and New Zealand among others. The RCEP has created the world's largest trading bloc with an aim to boost the member nations' economic growth that has been hit due to the pademic.

Missed the bus says Chinese media on India not joining RCEP

Xinhua reported that the RCEP agreement covers a market of 2.2 billion people, or almost 30% of the world's population, with a combined GDP of $26.2 trillion or about 30% of global GDP.

It said that the deal was not only monumental, but more importantly since it is a victory of multilateralism and free trade. While pulling out of the deal, India had said that there are significant outstanding issues which remain unresolved.

The concerns that New Delhi had include the possibility of opening up its markets to cheap, China made goods. Xinhua further said that the Indian government argues that as China has an advantageous position in the deal, and India has a ballooning trade deficit with China, such a context would leave India in an unfair position, were it to join.

However, most international observers believe that it's the work of some interest groups in India, trying hard to obstruct India's participation for their own interests, while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party made concessions in order to win their support, Liu Zongyi from the Centre for China-South Asia Cooperation at Shanghai Institutes for International Studies wrote.

Qian Feng, director of the research department at the National Strategy Institute at Tsinghua University said in the article, that the Indian economy has been hit hard by COVID-19 and and recorded a record contraction during the April-June quarter of 23.9%.

According to an IMF estimate, it may shrink 10.3% in 2020. Though the RCEP may still leave a chance for India, it will be hard for the nation to reset its direction unless New Delhi clearly realises that its core interest has been hindered by its skewed strategy.

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