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India an important aspect in growth, stability, and development of Asia Pacific region

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Washington: India’s Ambassador to the US Arun Singh said on Tuesday that India is “a politico-economic opportunity” for the Asia Pacific, which could play a significant role in growth, development and stability of the region.

India’s participation in the 21-nation Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum could also help consolidate India’s quest to speed up growth and to integrate closer with its neighbouring Asia-Pacific economies, he said here on Tuesday.

“India represents a politico-economic opportunity for APEC,” Singh said, during a discussion at the Indian embassy, on “India and the APEC Opportunity” over a new report brought out by the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI).

The envoy noted that India was a G20 country and member of the East Asia Summit and the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), “whose economic and political weight is bound to increase in the coming years”.

“We believe that India could play an important role within APEC for growth, development and stability of the region,” he said.

“In turn, membership of APEC would help India in integrating further with economies of the region, resulting in a win-win situation for all,” Singh said.

“It can also help India become familiar and more involved with the sweeping changes taking place in the region towards reducing transaction costs, improving connectivity and supply chain linkages, strengthening human capital development, and building sustainable and inclusive communities,” he said.

“Today Asia is witnessing a consolidation of competing mega-regional trade agreements,” Singh said, citing the US-led Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) agreement, the RCEP, and APEC promoted Free Trade Area for the Asia Pacific (FTAAP).

“While India is part of RCEP, it is not involved in TPP or FTAAP. Yet, India has already become a ‘strategic partner’ of several APEC member countries and all, but four, APEC member countries already have or are pursuing trade agreements with India bilaterally or multilaterally, including China.”

“India joining the APEC forum can bring India’s economic integration with the region to a level-matching its strategic partnership with the APEC members and groups like ASEAN,” he said.

In its new report, “India’s Future in Asia: The APEC Opportunity”, the Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) highlights the significant benefits that would accrue to India, APEC members, and the region as a result of India joining the forum.

It also outlines the obstacles that stand in the way of Indian membership and the potential steps that India and APEC could take to address these impediments. (Arun Kumar, IANS)

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G20 Needs to Issue Strong Declaration about Climate Change in Summit

In that meeting, the members of the group agreed on a document supporting the fulfilment of the Paris Agreement

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Juncker made the statement after being asked in a press conference over his expectations for the final declaration over climate change. Pixabay

European Commission (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday said that the G20 needs to issue a strong declaration about climate change in its summit, which is set to kick off later in the day in this Japanese city.

Juncker made the statement after being asked in a press conference over his expectations for the final declaration over climate change set to be signed by G20 leaders during the two-day meet, reports Efe news.

“We need a strong declaration on climate change,” said Juncker, recalling the debacle in this regard in the last G20 summit in Buenos Aires in December.

In that meeting, the members of the group agreed on a document supporting the fulfilment of the Paris Agreement against climate change, although the US abstained from signing the declaration after President Donald Trump’s administration had earlier unilaterally withdrawn from the 2015 climate change deal signed in the French capital.

G20, Climate Change, Summit
European Commission (EC) President Jean-Claude Juncker on Friday said that the G20 needs to issue a strong declaration about climate change. Pixabay

The possible opposition of the United States makes it difficult for the G20 to agree on a more substantial text, making it likely that the declaration would be limited to supporting the Paris Agreement, according to official sources from Japan, which currently holds the rotating chairmanship of the group.

Both Juncker and European Council President Donald Tusk said that the delegations were still working on the final draft of the declaration and hoped to make further progress.

Meanwhile, a group of environmental activists on Thursday protested outside a coal plant in the Japanese city of Kobe with an inflatable balloon effigy of Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe, as a show of opposition against his policies of promoting and funding coal power plants.

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The activists of the No Coal Japan campaign said they wanted Japanese leaders to have more discussions in the G20 summit about reducing the country’s domestic greenhouse gas emissions. (IANS)