Asia Society Policy Institute: It's Time for India to Join APEC

Asia Society Policy Institute President Kevin Rudd speaks at the release event for ASPI's new report recommending India's inclusion in APEC at the Embassy of India in Washington, D.C. (Daryl Morini/Asia Society)

The Asia Society Policy Institute (ASPI) released a report this week calling for India's membership in the Asia-Pacific Economic Cooperation (APEC) forum. At the report’s release event at the Indian Embassy in Washington, D.C., ASPI President Kevin Rudd remarked that “Indian membership in APEC … is good for India, good for APEC, good for the region, and good for the world.”

The report India’s Future in Asia: The APEC Opportunity makes the case for Indian membership by outlining the significant benefits of including the country, the world’s fastest growing major economy and the third largest in Asia. My co-author Harsha V. Singh and I also suggest steps that India and APEC could consider to ease the country’s path toward membership.

Founded in 1989, APEC is a 21-member organization dedicated to regional economic integration and helping its members improve their trade and investment ties. India has wanted to become a member since the mid-1990s, but has thus far not been included.

At the report’s launch, India’s Ambassador to the United States Arun Kumar Singh called on APEC to welcome India, arguing that “for APEC to fully realize its potential in the Asia-Pacific and the world at large, it needs to reflect 21st century realities. This would entail inclusion of economies such as India, given their economic size and potential.”

“This is a particularly opportune moment to push forward for India’s membership in APEC,” Rudd emphasized. “The United States, China, Japan, and Russia — four key APEC economies — have welcomed, formally, India’s interest in becoming a member of APEC. Prime Minister Modi has developed constructive relationships with many of these countries, and this can prove useful in building support for Indian membership.”

There is today a striking alignment between APEC’s interests and India’s economic agenda. It’s time for India and APEC to seize the opportunity.

Read the full report: India’s Future in Asia: The APEC Opportunity
Read Kevin Rudd’s remarks at the report launch event.

About the Author

Profile picture for user Anubhav Gupta

Anubhav Gupta is Assistant Director for the Asia Society Policy Institute. He is based in New York.