Asserting that "Make in India" has become "Buy from China", Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on Monday hit out at the RCEP and alleged that the proposed free trade deal will flood the country with cheap goods, resulting in millions of job losses and crippling the economy.
Gandhi's takedown of the proposed trade agreement came as Prime Minister Narendra Modi was in Bangkok where negotiations for the long-overdue Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) was heading towards finality.
"'Make in India' has become 'Buy from China'. Each year we import Rs. 6,000 worth of goods from China for every Indian! A 100 per cent increase since 2014," the former Congress chief said in a tweet.
"RCEP will flood India with cheap goods, resulting in millions of job losses & crippling the Indian economy," Gandhi said.
His remarks come two days after Congress president Sonia Gandhi launched a blistering attack on the government's economic policies and said signing the RCEP agreement will deal a "body blow" to the economy, resulting in "untold hardship" for farmers, shopkeepers and small enterprises.
The proposed free-trade agreement includes 10 member-countries of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) and six of the bloc's dialogue partners China, Japan, South Korea, India, Australia and New Zealand.
The possible delay in firming up the RCEP during the three-day Asean summit in Bangkok has been attributed to India's demands on market access and tariff-related issues. Hardball negotiations to address sticky issues went down to the wire on Sunday, with India holding on to its demand for amicable resolution of its demands.