Sixteen nations met recently at a trade summit in Bangkok, Thailand, hoping to iron out the terms of a regional trade deal covering nearly half the world’s population. Then India, after seven years of negotiations, decided to pull out.
As India’s economy continues to slow, regional integration held the promise of a new source of growth. India now faces a stark choice – either strengthen domestic economic reforms or risk being left behind as trade migrates to lower-tariff trade zones throughout Asia.
Real reforms will not be easy, despite Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) winning national elections in May. The economy has not been the focus since Modi’s re-election. Instead, nationalistic and sectarian politics have defined the first six months of Modi’s new term and a strong coalition government has still not been formed.
The full op-ed in The South China Morning Post is available HERE.
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