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International relations

Second thoughts? India keeps door open on RCEP talks

New Delhi would consider return to negotiating table if all demands are met

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, second from left, with New Zealand Prime Minister Jacinda Ardern, Chinese Premier Li Keqiang and Thai Prime Minister Prayuth Chan-ocha at the RCEP summit in Bangkok on Nov. 4.   © Reuters

NEW DELHI -- India has dropped hints that it is still open to joining what would be the world's largest free trade pact if its "core concerns" are met despite opting out of the 16-nation agreement just three days ago.

"We have negotiated with a very clear-eyed view of our interests. We negotiated hard," India's External Affairs Ministry spokesman Raveesh Kumar said Thursday in response to a question on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership. "If we get a firm indication that our core interests will be accommodated, at that stage we can think of taking any further decision in this matter."

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