India, ASEAN to expand trade despite RCEP walkout

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India and ASEAN countries said they would explore ways to increase trade between them despite India’s exit from the 15-nation Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.

The RCEP free trade agreement, which India walked out from a year ago, is expected to be signed on November 15, between China, Australia, South Korea, Japan, and 10 Association of South East Asian (ASEAN) nations. However, they are expected to leave in a clause allowing India to rejoin at a later date.

Association of Southeast Asian Nations

  • The Association of Southeast Asian Nations is a regional intergovernmental organization comprising ten countries in Southeast Asia, which promotes intergovernmental cooperation and facilitates economic, political, security, military, educational, and sociocultural integration among its members and other countries in Asia.
  • ASEAN also regularly engages other countries in the Asia-Pacific region and beyond. A major partner of Shanghai Cooperation Organisation, ASEAN maintains a global network of alliances and dialogue partners and is considered by many as a global powerhouse, the central union for cooperation in Asia-Pacific, and a prominent and influential organization. 
  • It is involved in numerous international affairs, and hosts diplomatic missions throughout the world. 
  • ASEAN was preceded by an organisation formed on 31 July 1961 called the Association of Southeast Asia (ASA), a group consisting of Thailand, the Philippines, and the Federation of Malaya
  • ASEAN itself was created on 8 August 1967, when the foreign ministers of five countries: IndonesiaMalaysia, the PhilippinesSingapore, and Thailand, signed the ASEAN Declaration

As set out in the Declaration, the aims and purposes of ASEAN are to accelerate economic growth, social progress, and cultural development in the region, to promote regional peace, collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest, to provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities, to collaborate for better utilization of agriculture and industry to raise the living standards of the people, to promote Southeast Asian studies and to maintain close, beneficial co-operation with existing international organisations with similar aims and purposes.

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