India's Future in Asia: The APEC Opportunity

An Asia Society Policy Institute Report

In January 2015, the historic “U.S.-India Joint Strategic Vision for the Asia Pacific and Indian Ocean Region” statement signed by President Barack Obama and Prime Minister Narendra Modi welcomed India’s interest in joining the Asia Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. Since then, other APEC economies, including China, Japan, and Russia, have acknowledged India’s interest in APEC and underscored the importance of the Indian economy to the region. During a period when the global economy is slowing and uncertainty in the Chinese economy may endanger growth in the Asia-Pacific region, India, the world's fastest growing major economy, is well positioned to shore up global growth if it is better integrated with the region through APEC.

India has expressed interest in APEC membership since the mid-1990s but has not been included as a member. Despite the growth in India's trade and investment relationships with the region over the past 15 years, current members continue to have concerns about including India as a member. 

India's Future in Asia: The APEC Opportunity 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. Written by Harsha V. Singh, Senior Advisor to the ASPI initiative "India and APEC: Charting a Path to Membership," and Anubhav Gupta, ASPI Senior Program Officer, the report provides key insights on what is at stake for India, APEC, and the region as India once again pursues APEC membership.  

Executive Summary

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Full Report

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