India must forge Free Trade Agreements (FTA) with the United Kingdom (UK) and the European Union (EU) at the earliest to make the proposed economic corridor work, noted economist and former vice chairman of NITI Aayog Arvind Panagariya told Moneycontrol.
"FTAs with the EU and the UK have to be an integral part of building such relationships. Once you combine such a connectivity corridor with FTA, it will become a powerful catalyst to a lot of great things that can happen in India," he observed.
Noting that the economic corridor will lead to a boom in the Indian economy, Panagariya emphasised that forging FTAs will make the process of creating the corridor quicker.
On September 9, Prime Minister Narendra Modi unveiled the connectivity corridor for economic integration between India, the Middle East, and Europe. The India-Middle East-European corridor will be a historic and groundbreaking effort to cooperate on connectivity and infrastructure between India, the United Arab Emirates, Saudi Arabia, the European Union, France, Italy, Germany, and the United States.
Panagariya noted that the creation of this connectivity corridor will lead to a double-digit growth in the Indian economy and could be an absolute game changer for the country. "Such a corridor will also make way for more multi-national companies to come to India," he said. He also noted that Middle Eastern countries are growing fast and play a major role in global economic growth calculations.
Hailing PM Modi's diplomacy for unveiling such a project, Panagariya noted that the corridor will not only have economic advantages but also geo-political advantages considering it travels through the Middle East.
In August 2023, Moneycontrol reported that India is aiming to close negotiations in the India-UK free trade agreement (FTA) as early as September when the next round of negotiations is scheduled to take place between the two countries.
Watch the full interview here