Not critical of India's move on RCEP, New Delhi entitled to act in accordance with its values, interest: Former Australian PM

New Delhi [India], Nov 18 (ANI): India is entitled to act in accordance with its values and interest, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott said on Monday over New Delhi's decision to opt-out of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) agreement.

Speaking to ANI, Abbott said that he is not critical of India's move on the RCEP, given his views that free trade cannot be beneficial to a country under the wrong circumstances.

"I'm certainly not going to be critical of India because I think India, like all other countries, is entitled to act in accordance with its values and interest. I certainly support free trade. It should be free trade under the right circumstances, not the wrong circumstances," said Abbott.

He added that he "very much hopes" that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Australian counterpart Scott Morrison will kick start Australia-India free trade agreement in February next year.

Early this month, India had announced that it will not join the RCEP agreement as its key concerns were not addressed.The key issues of India's concern included inadequate protection against import surge, insufficient differential with China, possible circumvention of rules of origin, keeping the base year as 2014 and no credible assurances on market access and non-tariff barriers. (ANI)