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India Prudent On New FTAs, Old Pacts Hollowed Out Supply Chains: Jaishankar

External affairs minister S Jaishankar said on Friday that India is cautious about new free trade agreements (FTAs) since previous deals have harmed domestic supply chains and failed to give adequate advantages to Indian industry.

During a meeting at the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry's annual conference, he stated that economic diplomacy is a big part of what Indian operations do across the world and that 300 lines of credit worth more than $30 billion have been provided to over 70 nations have improved India's reputation and opened up new chances for home enterprises (FICCI).

Whenever it comes to new FTAs, Jaishankar says they are cautious and conduct extensive research on the individual with whom they are entering into a relationship. He stated that he engages directly with minister of commerce Piyush Goyal and finance minister Nirmala Sitharaman on such matters because no one is similar.

India's FTA targets represent strategic alignments and domestic business conveniences. He stated that he sincerely hopes that in a few years, they would have a larger variety of FTAs.


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India has had a difficult time negotiating free trade agreements during the last 25 years, according to Jaishankar, since it was mostly dealing with non-market players. He went on to say that as a consequence, their domestic supply chains have been severely impacted in several situations. They've been hollowed out in some areas.

Some of the countries with which India signed FTAs were extremely protective of their supply chains and SMEs, and perhaps even competitive Indian products were unable to market due to non-tariff restrictions. He stated that they must be realistic regarding this and that the usual globalisation slogans make him uncomfortable.

They are in peril, he added, if no one is listening after 25 years of increasing evidence. The administration pays attention to domestic business concerns, which has resulted in a push to evaluate FTAs with several partners.

According to Jaishankar, Indian diplomats have prioritised commerce and business, raising policies and legislative concerns with host authorities on a constant schedule and advocating for India's economic concerns overseas.

The upwards of $30 billion in credit lines were granted to 600 projects in 70 nations, assisting in the promotion of initiatives and Indian exports. In the same period, India has given 12 nations 80 grants totalling $5 billion. These are excellent forums for Indian enterprises to promote their products and capabilities, he said, and such collaborations create jobs and strengthen the nation.

In the absence of economic diplomacy, which enabled open supply chains for components from the United States, India would not have been able to ramp up manufacturing of Covid-19 vaccines, according to Jaishankar. Nevertheless, he noted that the post-pandemic reality will be more complex and challenging, and India would have to reconsider its supply chains.

In response to a question regarding the scenario in Afghanistan, Jaishankar stated that it has been obvious because of United States President Barack Obama's second term that American troops will be removed from the war-torn nation. At one point, he said, it's not surprising, but he believes a lot of the worries stem from how the Taliban discussions in Doha went and how things played out on the ground.