RSS economic wing congratulates PM Modi for ‘bold decision’ on RCEP deal

The statement from the Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), the economic wing of RSS comes after government sources said India has decided not to join RCEP and the PM stands firm on the decision as key concerns have not been addressed.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Bangkok.(Reuters photo)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi attends the East Asia Summit (EAS) in Bangkok.(Reuters photo)
Updated on Jul 18, 2020 06:20 AM IST
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Hindustan Times, New Delhi | By

The Swadeshi Jagran Manch (SJM), the economic wing of the Rashtriya Swayamsevak Sangh (RSS) has congratulated Prime Minister Narendra Modi for not signing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.

On Monday, government sources said India has decided not to join RCEP and the PM stands firm on the decision as key concerns have not been addressed.

The SJM led a campaign against the proposal for making India a part of the trade deal between the 10 ASEAN members (Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam) and their six free trade agreement (FTA) partners -- China, India, Japan, Korea, Australia and New Zealand.

WATCH | India won’t join RCEP free trade deal, cites unresolved ‘core’ issues

“We welcome the PM’s decisions and congratulate him for taking such a bold move that is in favour of the country and its economy,” SJM’s national co convenor Ashwani Mahajan told HT.

He said, the decision will boost the economy and will be “beneficial for the country in general” and “dairy, agriculture and industries in particular”.

“The decision to not go ahead (by signing the agreement) will boost Make in India, which has been a flagship scheme of the government to give a fillip to production as well as employment,” Mahajan said.

Apart from SJM, a section within the ruling Bharatiya Janata Party had also urged the central government not to sign the agreement.

Last month a closed door meeting helmed by the BJP’s organisations general secretary BL Santhosh and its spokesperson on economic issues Gopal Agarwal was held to address concerns of stakeholders.

The SJM had cautioned that the current position of trade imbalance with China would worsen if India signs the agreement. The economic wing of the RSS said India’s overall trade deficit with China has shown a 13-fold increase in the past decade. It went on to add, trade deficit with ASEAN, Korea and Japan has doubled to USD 24 Billion in FY 2017 from USD 15 Billion in FY 2011. This imbalance has deteriorated in 13 of the 21 sectors, including chemicals, rubber, minerals, leather, gems and jewellery, metals and medical instruments, the SJM had cautioned.

During his annual Vijaydashami speech last month, RSS chief Mohan Bhagwat also called for trade agreements that protect India’s interests and are drawn up on the country’s terms. Though Bhagwat did not spell out RCEP; his statement was perceived to be in reference to the churning within the government over the signing of the pact.

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