On Monday, November 4, as per the call of All India Kisan Sangharsh Coordination Committee (AIKSCC), farmers across the country demonstrated against India being a party to the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP). RCEP, a free trade agreement, consists of 16 countries, including 10 ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) countries along with China, Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and India.
Though the RCEP agreement was to be signed on Monday in Bangkok, India reportedly raised concerns over the small scale industries and deferred the agreement. Farmers’ groups and people’s movements, however, demand India’s withdrawal from the agreement.
Across the country, farmers and people who had gathered at district and lower administrative offices at nearly 500 areas, burned the effigy of RCEP and urged the government to step back from the agreement. Raising slogans against RCEP, farmers shared their concerns and asserted for their rights.
Announcing the decision, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said, “The present form of the RCEP Agreement does not fully reflect the basic spirit and the agreed guiding principles of the RCEP. It also does not address satisfactorily India’s outstanding issues and concerns. In such a situation, it is not possible for India to join RCEP Agreement.”
Home Minister Amit Shah said, “India’s decision to not sign the RCEP agreement is a result of Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s strong leadership and unflinching resolve to ensure national interest in all circumstances. It shall ensure support to our farmers, MSMEs, dairy and manufacturing sector, pharmaceutical, steel and chemical industries,” reported ANI.