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5) Critically examine whether India’s approach to RCEP negotiations is flawed?(250 words)

Topic – Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests

5) Critically examine whether India’s approach to RCEP negotiations is flawed?(250 words)

Financial express

Why this question

The article provides a nice perspective on the trade positions taken by India in RCEP and examines at a macro level whether there needs to be a paradigm shift. RCEP being an important topic for mains, this perspective and its critical analysis becomes important.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to first explain in brief about RCEP, the issue that India is facing in finishing negotiations. We are expected to discuss the pros and cons of the stand India is taking and finally provide a fair and balanced view on India’s stand along with way forward.

Directive word

Critically examine – When you are asked to examine, you have to probe deeper into the topic,  get into details, and find out the causes or implications if any . When ‘critically’ is suffixed or prefixed to a directive, all you need to do is look at the good and bad of something and give a fair judgement.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Explain what RCEP is and the current status of the agreement.


  • Explain India’s stand at a macro and micro level in RCEP negotiations.
  • Greater access to Chinese goods may have impact on the Indian manufacturing sector so India proposed differential market access strategy for China.
    There are demands by other RCEP countries for lowering customs duties on a number of products and greater access to the market than India has been willing to provide.
  • developed countries such as Australia and Singapore are unwilling to accommodate India’s demands to liberalise their services regime and allow freer mobility of Indian workers.
  • Examine whether the stand taken by India makes sense from an economic, IR, social, political perspective. Examine whether India is needlessly being protections and opening trade is the need of the hour or whether India is doing right in trying to protect its interests.

Conclusion – Give a fair and balanced view to the question asked and discuss the way forward ie what could be an agreeable middle ground.