A more profitable partnership

Indian ambassador to Thailand, Anil Wadhwa, sees great potential in free trade agreements and further economic cooperation between the two countries

 

Anil Wadhwa, the ambassador of India to Thailand, is hopeful that Thailand and India will conclude a new, vastly expanded version of the two countries’ free trade agreement (FTA) by the middle of this year.

The current FTA covers only 84 items but the new one will include more than 30,000.

“It will be a comprehensive economic cooperation agreement [covering trade and investment in manufactured goods, as well as services], so it is very significant.

“We are looking at all sectors of the economy and feel that it will be complementary for our two countries’ economies.

“The current bilateral trade value is roughly about US$8 billion annually. This was estimated for 2011 and it should grow to at least $10 billion in 2012. If we conclude an expanded comprehensive economic agreement, there are possibilities that the value will go up much further.

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Since long India has been fighting for a place as a permanent member of the United Nations Security Council (UNSC). However, this struggle for a permanent UNSC seat is turning out to be a losing battle and would seemingly continue to be so for a variety of reasons for possibly many more decades to come. Before going into the pros and cons of the intriguing international situation, so vitally associated with the entry of a new permanent member to the UNSC, over a billion people in India reserve the right to question as to why the first Prime Minister of the country, Jawaharlal Nehru, refused the offer of a permanent UNSC seat made by the United States in 1955. Was it an unpardonable bungling by Nehru or a clever diplomatic move to save India from ignominy and enmity of powerful nations?

Very few people know that in 1955 the then US President Dwight David Eisenhower was caught in an unenviable situation of choosing between the People’s Republic of China under the Communist regime led by Mao Tse Tung and the then Formosa or the present Republic of China for a permanent seat at the UNSC. While Communist revolution was new and was beginning to find a firm footing in the Chinese mainland or the present People’s Republic of China, Washington’s blue-eyed boy Seng Kai Sek was compelled to find shelter in the island of Formosa after fleeing from the Chinese mainland. While the US was dead against Communist China becoming a permanent member of the UNSC, Eisenhower could clearly visualize that any offer made in favour of Formosa, then ruled by a fleeing dictator, would be vehemently opposed by other permanent members of the UNSC, more particularly by the then Communist USSR.

With the Cold War between the NATO and the Warsaw Pact countries being the order of the day in 1955 and India maintaining equidistance from both the blocks, perhaps President Eisenhower thought it prudent that India could fit into the permanent Asian seat in the UNSC, and accordingly the offer was made.

The Style Souk