India has missed out on the opportunity to a new round of regional industrial reconstruction and fast lane of economic recovery by opting out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
“The signing of RCEP, which covers 15 countries and 30% of the global economy, undoubtedly offers a driving force for the involved economies to regain growth momentum to struggle out of the COVID-19 mire and win advantages during the post-pandemic era,” observed the state media.
After seven years of negotiations, the Narendra Modi-led government dropped out of the RCEP-related talks at the end of 2019.
The Global Times said India had been actively trying to cut economic ties with China citing concerns over the competitiveness of Chinese products. It once declared its intentions to stay out of all international economic deals that involved China.
“Alongside New Delhi’s reckless efforts to provoke China on the borders,” continued the Chinese state media website. “India intended to take the chance of the US-led ‘decoupling from China’ campaign and take over industries that were relocating from China, which is just a wish now due to insufficient infrastructure, among India’s other limitations.”
The Chinese state media reported that India along with Japan and Australia is now pushing the Supply Chain Resilience Initiative (SCRI) to reduce the world’s reliance on Chinese industrial chains. However, due to a lack of progress Japan and Australia have now joined the RCEP list along with China, South Korea, New Zealand, and 10 ASEAN countries.
The publication said that the Modi administration will lose opportunities by isolating itself from a nearby huge free trade zone. “The Indian economy has been hit hard by COVID-19 and recorded a record contraction during the April-June quarter of 23.9%,” it noted, stressing that an IMF estimate said it will 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 realizes that its core interest has been hindered by its skewed strategy.”