India Should Join Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation: MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga

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India Should Join Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation: MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga

File Photo: MasterCard CEO Ajay Banga


New York:  It is the "right time" for India to join the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) bloc and become fully integrated into the global economy, a former Australian Prime Minister and a top US corporate leader have said, noting that India's growth potential is simply too important to ignore.

"India is a rising power, eager for a greater role in Asian and global affairs," Kevin Rudd, former Australian Prime Minister who is the current president of the Asia Society Institute and MasterCard President and CEO Ajay Banga wrote in an op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal Asia, as they made a strong case for India's membership in APEC.

"Indian membership in APEC has been in the very slow lane for 20 years through a combination of indifference and inertia in Delhi, Washington and the regional capitals," the two wrote, underlining the fact that India remains outside the mainstream of global trade.

Mr Banga and Mr Rudd said the opportunity has never been greater to integrate such a "vital country" into the emerging economic institutions of the 21st century.

"APEC membership is the right step at the right time," they said in the op-ed titled 'Bring India Into APEC'.
They also questioned APEC's relevance if the third-largest economy in Asia is not part of it.

"...if APEC is to remain relevant itself, the continued exclusion of Asia's third-largest economy is untenable. India's growth potential and its huge market are simply too important to ignore."

They said despite the accomplishments of the first year of the Modi Government, that has put the Indian economy on a more stable macroeconomic footing, "business confidence in India is still well short of what is needed to expand manufacturing and create the 12 million jobs each year necessary to offer opportunity to India's burgeoning young workforce."

Even the development of India surpassing China as the world's fastest-growing large economy masks the reality that India needs to become fully integrated into the global economy if it is to sustain its current growth levels.

"Prime Minister Narendra Modi's government must act decisively to open the Indian economy to the rapidly changing global trade system, especially in the dynamic Asia-Pacific region.


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