The IPEF could offer us a boat we must not miss2 min read . Updated: 24 May 2022, 01:36 AM IST
The Indo-Pacific Economic Framework may be an opportunity for India’s integration with global supply chains and trade flows. But the US must put global aims above its home politics
The post-Cold War integration of Russia’s economy with the West’s may not have prevented its invasion of Ukraine, but the mutual gains of trade ties can usually be relied upon to foster a pax economica. In a world being cleaved apart by geopolitics again, this time with a US-versus-China bipolarity in the offing, India’s neutrality will be tested as we seek to retain and build bridges that serve our interests. For Indo-Pacific security, we have cast our lot with the US, Japan and Australia to form the four-nation Quad. Currently just a forum to discuss common concerns rather than a defence alliance, the Quad’s agenda has steadily expanded over the years. For the group to acquire durable heft, however, talks on how best to help one another prosper must go with convergence on keeping the Indo-Pacific open and free. If the Indo-Pacific Economic Framework (IPEF) proposed by US President Joe Biden on his visit to Asia meets even a minimal bar for what suits us, New Delhi should sign up for it. Trade relations with fellow democracies, after all, have been our preference after we gave up on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) led by China. With a dozen odd participants, it’s the IPEF that “should drive a race to the top", Biden said on Monday.
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