Commerce Minister Piyush Goyal Tuesday said that India is struggling with a massive trade deficit, particularly with China and other countries in the region.
Speaking at the World Economic Forum (WEF) Annual Meeting, 2020, in Davos, the Union minister said, "Any pact needs to take into account several factors. India is grappling with a huge trade deficit, particularly with China and many other nations in the region."
Goyal added that the Indian government is exploring ways to ensure just and more equitable terms in terms of its trade relations with several countries.
He also emphasised on enhanced cooperation among several countries in order to achieve the enormous growth prospects in the Indian Ocean region as well as addressing the critical issue of climage change.
Talking about the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), Goyal also stated that the regional economic pact in its present form was clearly an unrealisable agreement.
For the first time, India demonstrated that trade cannot be dictated by diplomacy, he said, referring to India's decision to pull out of the RCEP.
The Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) has had to factor in several diversities among partners, but India has serious concerns about climate change and is seeking greater cooperation on fair terms, he asserted.
Goyal was speaking at a Strategic Outlook session on 'The Indian Ocean Rim'.
"We are like a pivot for the Indian Ocean and we believe this region has huge potential. At the same time, India is very much concerned about the issue of climate change," he said.
"Going forward, the entire grouping around the Indian Ocean will play a very important role, while keeping in mind fair and equitable distribution. India also expects greater cooperation among various nations on climate change," he said.
Goyal further said, "We in India are also working on how to put in place more equitable terms in our trade relations with various countries."
The Indian Ocean Rim sees two-thirds of the world's oil shipments pass through its waters and is home to half of the world's container ships that support 2.7 billion people.
The panellists discussed what are the strategic priorities for the Indian Ocean Rim in 2020, including advancing regional cooperation, strengthening the blue economy and mitigating climate change.
The panellists included Samir Saran, President, Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Sultan Ahmed bin Sulayem, Group Chairman and Chief Executive Officer DP World Limited; Mathias Cormann, Minister for Finance; Leader of the Government in the Senate of Australia; and Njoki Njehu, Director, Daughters of Mumbi Global Resource Center, Kenya.
(With inputs from PTI)