Open to RCEP deal if 'firm indication' given on core interests: MEA

Topics RCEP deal | rcep meet | RCEP

India on Thursday said if it gets a "firm indication" that its core interests will be accommodated in the RCEP trade deal then it can think of taking a "further decision" on the issue.

The assertion by the Ministry of External Affairs came two days after Commerce and Industry Minister Piyush Goyal indicated that India is open for negotiations if the member countries of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) come up with a better offer which can address concerns and provide greater market access for domestic industries.

He, however, had said that for the present, it is the final decision of the government that India will not join the China-backed mega free trade agreement.

Asked about India's stand on RCEP, MEA Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said India's concerns and requests are available with the other 15 RCEP members.

"We have negotiated with a very clear view of our interests. We negotiated hard. If we get a firm indication that our core interests will be accommodated, at that stage, we can think of taking any further decision in this matter," he told reporters at a briefing.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi in Bangkok on Monday had said that India will not join the RCEP deal as negotiations failed to address New Delhi's "outstanding issues and concerns".

As many as 16 countries -- 10 nation bloc ASEAN and its six trading partners including India -- were negotiating the mega free-trade pact RCEP.

Responding to media reports on government considering revoking the Overseas Citizen of India (OCI) card of author and journalist Aatish Taseer, Kumar said he was not aware of the specific case.

"How do you scrutinise an OCI card. You apply for an OCI card and there are certain conditions you fulfil and documents you have to submit....But yes there are certain conditions under which an OCI card is liable to be cancelled. I can't comment on individual cases," he said.

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