Indian Foreign Minister S Jaishankar warns of RCEP’s damaging consequences

India’s foreign minister S Jaishankar has defended India’s move to stay out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership by labelling it as a ‘damaging consequence’.

While addressing the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, he said, “It was quite extraordinary that an economy as attractive as India allowed the framework to be set by others. With the passage of time, our predicament became increasingly serious. 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.”


The comment from Jaishankar came ahead of the meeting of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Chinese President Xi Jinping at the 2020 BRICS summit. This is the second time this month that the leaders of the two Asian giants will be attending a virtual event together.

While attending the Shanghai Co-peration Organisation Heads of State Summit, hosted by Russia, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed his opinions on being self-reliant while respecting each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity.

The BRICS summit will be hosted by Russia and will not be used to discuss bilateral issues. The Russian said, both India and China will benefit from participating.

The RCEP was signed on November 15, 2020, by China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, and the ASEAN. India remains to abstain from the meeting due to the increasing trade deficits with a majority of the other members. India was asked to open 74% of its market to the ASEAN countries.

At the Indian School of Business in Hyderabad, Jaishankar said, “The effect of past trade agreements has been to de-industrialize some sectors. The consequences of future ones would lock us into global commitments, any of them not to our advantage. Those who argue stressing openness and efficiency do not present the full picture.”