Jun 24, 2016
Britain set to leave EU; India prepared for consequences
Jun 24, 2016
Britain is set to be the first country to leave the EU since its formation after official results released early today showed the ‘Leave’ side prevailed 52 per cent to 48 per cent in Thursday’s vote.
The referendum had a turnout of 72 per cent with more than 30 million people voting - the highest turnout at a UK-wide vote since 1992.
The decision launches what will be years of negotiations over trade, business and political links with the EU, which will shrink to a 27-nation bloc.
After the result of the referendum, Prime Minister David Cameron said he would step down by October. He said he would attempt to "steady the ship" over the coming weeks and months but that "fresh leadership" was needed.
However, the Leave vote does not immediately mean Britain ceases to be a member of the EU.
That process could take a minimum of two years, with Leave campaigners suggesting during the referendum campaign that it should not be completed until 2020 - the date of the next scheduled general election.
In New Delhi, Finance Minister Arun Jaitley issued a statement on Friday seeking to bolster investor confidence in India following the aftermath of the British referendum.
“We are well prepared to deal with the short and medium term consequences of Brexit,” Jaitley said. “Our macro-economic fundamentals are sound with a very comfortable external position, a rock-solid commitment to fiscal discipline, and declining inflation. Our immediate and medium-term firewalls are solid too in the form of a healthy reserve position.”
But Jaitley conceded that the Brexit result would affect economies around the world.
“This verdict will, obviously, further contribute to such volatility not least because its full implications for the UK, Europe and the rest of the world are still uncertain,” Jaitley said. “All countries around the world will have to brace themselves for a period of possible turbulence while being watchful about, and alert to, the referendum’s medium term impacts,” he added.
The Finance Minister also reiterated the government’s growth forecast for the economy, and said it would push for the passage of the GST Bill, adding that the government and the Reserve Bank of India were working together to mitigate any short term volatility.
“The government and the Reserve Bank of India as well as other regulators are well prepared, and working closely together, to deal with any short term volatility,” he said. “Our aim will be to smooth this volatility and minimize its impact on the economy in the short term.”
“At the same time, for the medium term, we will steadfastly pursue our ambitious reform agenda—including early passage of the GST — that will help us realise our medium term growth potential of 8-9 per cent and help achieve our objective of development for all,” Jaitley added.
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