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As India Pulls Out of RCEP Deal Over Unresolved Core Issues, Govt & Oppn Claim Credit for 'Courageous' Move

Responding to criticism over the FTA by the Congress, the Commerce Minister had earlier pointed out that it was in 2012, during the UPA’s time in power, that India entered RCEP negotiations in the first place.

Uday Singh Rana | CNN-News18@UdaySRana

Updated:November 5, 2019, 10:04 AM IST
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As India Pulls Out of RCEP Deal Over Unresolved Core Issues, Govt & Oppn Claim Credit for 'Courageous' Move
Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrives for a special lunch on sustainable development on the sidelines of the ASEAN summit in Bangkok, Thailand. (Reuters)

New Delhi: India announced on Monday evening that it would pull out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) Free Trade Agreement (FTA) negotiations. India’s core issues remained unresolved during the negotiations, which led the government to pull out. However, domestically, the political fallout continued. Both the ruling BJP and opposition Congress claimed credit for the decision to pull out of the deal.

“Congratulate PM @narendramodi for his bold and courageous decision to not join RCEP, since it was against our economic interests and national priorities. Modi hai to mumkin hai!” Union Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal, who was leading the negotiations on behalf of India, tweeted. He added, “I also thank PM Modi for his invaluable support and strong leadership. He has once again shown his concern for the farmers, dairy sector, MSMEs and domestic manufacturing. This will boost Make in India.”

Responding to criticism over the FTA by the Congress, the Commerce Minister had earlier pointed out that it was in 2012, during the UPA’s time in power, that India entered RCEP negotiations in the first place.

BJP president and Union Home Minister Amit Shah, too, tweeted praising the government’s decision and gave the credit to the Prime Minister. “India’s decision to not sign RCEP is a result of PM @narendramodi’s strong leadership & unflinching resolve to ensure national interest in all circumstances. It shall ensure support to our farmers, MSMEs, dairy & manufacturing sector, pharmaceutical, steel & chemical industries.”

The Congress, however, claimed that the government was forced to backtrack on its decision after pressure from the opposition party. Randeep Singh Surjewala said on Twitter, “BJP Govt had gone overboard in their zeal to sign RCEP completely bartering the interests of farmers, fishermen & MSME’s. As BJP & Sh. Amit Shah indulge in fake credit seeking today, let them remember that Congress’s forceful opposition made them back down.”

Priyanka Gandhi Vadra tweeted, “BJP was going to join RCEP with full fanfare. It was going to surrender farmers’ interest and national interest to foreign countries. Farmers of this country have opposed this with full strength and given a message that they will not surrender the fruit of their labour to foreign companies. BJP government had to reverse its decision on RCEP. Congratulations to our farmer brothers and sisters. I thank the workers of the Congress party who have stood shoulder to shoulder with farmers.”

The RSS-linked Swadeshi Jagran Manch had also been one of the government’s critics on the RCEP deal. After India pulled out of RCEP, SJM issued a statement saying, “We at Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM) thank Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking the bold decision of not entering the agreement on Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). Staying away from RCEP is a decision in favour of country’s small businesses, farmers, dairy, data security and manufacturing sector. SJM thank PM Modi for showing great diplomatic farsightedness in terming the present text of the negotiations not in favour of people of India.”

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