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Some Southeast Asian nations are linking New Delhi’s decision to not join the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) trade deal with India’s International Solar Alliance (ISA), and hence are holding back to co-opt in the ISA drive.
ISA being the first treaty-based international government organization headquartered in India, Myanmar is the only country that has signed and ratified the agreement, while Cambodia is yet to ratify it. Singapore, Malaysia, Thailand, Philippines, Vietnam, Indonesia, Laos and are yet to become a signatory of the ISA.
A senior Indian government official on the condition of anonymity was quoted as per media report stating, these nations in SE Asia seem to be linking the joining of ISA, with India’s reluctance to join RCEP.
84 countries have signed the framework ISA agreement, and of these 63 have ratified it. RCEP is a proposed free trade agreement (FTA) between the 10 member states of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) namely Indonesia, Brunei, Cambodia, Malaysia, Laos, Philippines, Myanmar, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, and its six FTA partners.
Last year India decided not to join the RCEP, owing to intense pressure from political parties, farmers and domestic industry suggesting that, joining the RCEP would result in dumping of Chinese goods to affect small scale industries in the country.
India initially envisaged 121 countries to be a part of the ISA. Later Prime Minister, Narendra Modi proposed “universalisation” of membership, to make all United Nations member countries eligible for ISA, news media report stated.