ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846

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India and the RCEP

COVID-19 has widely affected global supply and value chains, and specific sectors around the world. In this scenario, the options for India to optimise its regional and global value chain linkages with the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership are examined, which in turn could aid in its post-pandemic recovery.

A Political Assessment of the Parties and Mechanisms Involved in the South China Sea Dispute

The Politics of South China Sea Disputes by Nehginpao Kipgen, London and New York: Taylor and Francis Group, Routledge, 2020; pp 148, ₹ 695.

Indian Ocean as the Sea of Opportunities: Reinforced Regional Interdependence via Trade and Development

This article presents the evolving policy of regional trade agreements in the Indian Ocean region with India at the helm of affairs. Besides the existing arrangements such as Association of Southeast Asian Nations and South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation, new partnerships are on the horizon including the recently concluded Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership, Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, the Indian Ocean Rim Association, and the Asia-Africa Growth Corridor. In the process, the Indian Ocean region looks at advancing South–South cooperation. The challenge remains to prioritise collective steps toward trade and development while envisaging people-friendly international trade governance.

Restricting Third Country Imports

The Government of India has rolled out new rules to restrict third country imports routed through free trade agreement partners for availing preferential tariff benefits. However, the regulatory and compliance-related burdens of the new rules will burden both import-dependent and value chain led export-oriented sectors, and make them uncompetitive in global markets.

Look East to Act East

India’s North-East and Asiatic South-East: Beyond Borders edited by Rashpal Malhotra and Sucha Singh Gill, Chandigarh: Centre for Rural and Industrial Development, 2015; pp xxv+302, ₹500. Look and Act East Policy: Potential and Constraints edited by Rashpal Malhotra and Sucha Singh Gill, Chandigarh: Centre for Rural and Industrial Development, 2015; pp xxxxiv+286, ₹595.

Region without Regionalism

Three decades have passed since the inception of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. It still is virtually a non-starter and has not addressed any substantive issue. Intra-regional trade is minuscule. India and Pakistan show little interest in the organisation. Without judging their respective foreign policies, it is argued that South Asian regionalism is not on their agenda. Three questions arise: Is South Asia at all a region? How much does the strategic divide between India and Pakistan, with China factored in, come in the way of South Asian regionalism? Why should India bother about regionalism when its policy of bilateralism serves it fine? To probe these, the region's history, global perceptions of the region, India's foreign and educational practices, and interstate relationships are discussed.

Production-Sharing in East Asia

Despite beginning the industrialisation process ahead of most of east Asia, India's manufactured exports as a whole have stagnated when benchmarked against east Asia. While its east Asian neighbours have been able to move rapidly from manufactured labour-intensive commodities, India has largely been left out of the production-sharing process. If India is to become a manufacturing powerhouse like China and most of the other middle-income countries in east Asia, it needs to take steps to integrate more effectively and intensively with the rest of east Asia and become an important participant in the regional and global division of labour.

Emergence of China as an Economic Power

While in the long run south-east Asia will benefit from a prosperous and economically strong and stable large neighbour, the issues tend to be more complex in the short and medium terms. South-east Asian countries have hitherto been able to adjust to China's initial opening up between 1990 and 1997 fairly successfully. However, the crisis of confidence following the regional crisis of 1997-98 and loss of forward momentum with regard to regional integration among ASEAN members and a feeling of vulnerability to an increasingly volatile global economy are some of the reasons for heightened concerns about the economic ascendancy of China.

ASEAN and SAARC

If SAARC is to unlock growth through regional economic integration, it will need major policy and planning changes to open borders and spur investment. It needs to study the parameters of regional cooperation followed by ASEAN countries in achieving high levels of 'economic openness'.

Coping with Capital Account Crises

Selected east Asian countries have recently agreed to create a network of bilateral currency swaps and repurchase agreements as a 'firewall' against future financial crises. Termed the Chiang Mai Initiative (CMI), it is aimed at providing countries facing the possibility of a liquidity shortage with additional short-term hard currencies and encompasses all ASEAN countries as well as China, Japan and Korea. We will have to wait and see if and how monetary cooperation in east Asia progresses, but to the extent such regional arrangements help to reinvigorate interest in strengthening the international financial architecture, they could act as stepping stones towards multilateral reforms rather than as stumbling blocks.

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