“India cannot afford to have the Bombay Club that existed in the early 1990s, it is necessary to stay connected to other countries, including trade and economic cooperation,” said Sanjaya Baru, an economist and media advisor to former Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, previously. The Bombay Club was made up of renowned Indian industrialists who, in 1993, supported the process of economic liberalization in order to create protection and measures for a level playing field. Mahajan stressed that despite Washington`s insistence on a free trade agreement with India in recent months, New Delhi has abstained and has not yielded to unwarranted demands, reflecting the government`s strong determination to resist pressure. “It is very important to see who is really interested in this rapid free trade agreement,” said Afsar Jafri of GRAIN, an international NGO that supports small farmers. Jafri said that peasants were a major electoral bank for Trump and that he may be seeking access to India`s market on the eve of the U.S. presidential election to gain their trust. With respect to free trade agreements, he said the department was “now reviewing and renewing” all old trade agreements to create symmetry and more balanced trade. “We believe that India is competitive and that we can really benefit from fair and equitable trade expansion if we implement free trade agreements with appropriate stakeholder consultations and take into account India`s capacity to meet the demands, particularly quality, of these countries and ensure that these free trade agreements are not implemented at the expense of Indian industry and business. He added that in previous free trade negotiations, “we have always had a crude agreement.” The EU is India`s largest trading partner, accounting for 11.1% of India`s total trade, on an equal footing with the United States and China (10.7%) ». We are confident that free trade agreements with the EU and the US will benefit India and that talks will resume,” said Gopal Krishna Agarwal, national spokesman for the Bharatiya Janata Party for Economic Affairs. “India is not opposed to trade agreements with other countries, although now, it seems, after the release of the RCEP, the popular idea is that we understand the need to remain integrated at the global and regional level,” Agarwal added.

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