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RCEP doors for India will remain open: Singapore’s deputy PM

India can play a major role in global supply chains

Even as India exited the 15 member Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), it can join the trade pact anytime, Singapore’s deputy prime minister Heng Swee Keat said.

“We fully appreciate why India is unable to join the RCEP at this moment. But the door remains open, and we welcome India to do so when you are ready,” Heng said.

Speaking at Confederation of Indian Industry’s annual session, Heng said that for India, to fully achieve economic potential, it needs to further integrate its economy with Southeast Asia, “The importance of collaboration to unlock India’s vast potential means that India should consider greater economic integration with the region,” he said.

Also read: ADB lowers India's growth projection to 10% this year from earlier 11%

The mega trade deal was signed in November last year between 15 countries — China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand, Vietnam, Thailand, Singapore, Philippines, Myanmar, Laos, Malaysia, Indonesia, Cambodia and Brunei. India, which was part of the negotiations, pulled out at the last minute.

Heng highlighted that India has an important role to play in contributing to the diversification of the global supply chain. 

The Singapore leader added New Delhi would need to work with partners as it aims to achieve self-reliance and build a “stronger and more cohesive” country especially in the post Covid-19 phase.

He pointed out that India and ASEAN countries need to partner to boost connectivity and integrate economies “Asean and India have many complementary strengths. We should build on these to restore connectivity, and enhance supply chains in the post-pandemic era,” he said.