The rejuvenated BIMSTEC, with a new charter in hand, is now expanding its ambition and mission. One such area is climate change, which needs greater attention as it will have implications for the Bay of Bengal and beyond. With their unique climate conditions and action plans can together create a model for regional cooperation.
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The recently concluded BIMSTEC summit is now a regional intergovernmental organization with a formal charter, giving it a clear mission and legality and a destiny linked to South and South East Asia. It is now better equipped to accelerate economic development for the fifth of the world’s population, which contributes only 4% of global GDP.
BIMSTEC is of special importance to India as it is a crucial link between the Neighbourhood First and Act East policies. This almost 25 year old multilateral can contribute to the Indo-Pacific region by addressing challenges in strategic areas of regional connectivity, security cooperation, free trade, and geoeconomic ties with external partners.
Last month, the Government of India released its Green Hydrogen Policy with the goal of boosting energy self-reliance and inspiring clean energy transitions. The time is right for the Indo-Pacific economies to finance green hydrogen projects and integrate them into supply chains.
A shift is taking place in the business of global dominance and hegemony, from the model of expressing force through troop presence to financial sanctions. But China and Russia, in concert, may provide a way out of the sanctions regime.
Financial intermediaries are critical lubricants for business, growth and development. The Indo-Pacific countries are industrializing, but smaller nations lag behind economically. The Quad countries can aid the advancement of the financial architecture in the Indo-Pacific by helping to develop an ecosystem, modelled on the examples of Japan and India.
Multilateral funding can aid regional financial connectivity between the Bay of Bengal states, where financial networks are scarce. India's successful fintech can be mobilised to create a local ecosystem of startups with better access to funds and strong ties to the Indian market.
Saurabh Kumar, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India, delivered the keynote address at the panel discussion on India in the Indo-Pacific: Pursuing Prosperity and Security, organised by Gateway House and the U.S. Embassy, New Delhi, on 1 February 2022. He outlined India's vision for a free and inclusive Indo-Pacific, and the initiatives undertaken to further cooperation among nations in the region.
India hosted a summit with five Central Asian states on January 27, marking 30 years of diplomatic relations with the region, and an important step forward to pursue greater connectivity between India and Central Asia. New Delhi's engagement holds promise for ambitious bilateral agendas including security in Afghanistan, the revival of dormant projects, and potential collaboration in renewable energy, space and information technology.
The Taliban's resurgence since 2001 has been largely funded by the creation of an opium economy and extortion. Now, with the withdrawal of U.S. troops, legitimate aid from Afghanistan and the freezing of Afghan funds abroad, the Taliban will revive its informal sources of finance to stay afloat. A look at the financing that brought the Taliban back to Kabul.