During the Bay of Bengal Economic Dialogue 2021 on, Post-COVID Challenges in the Bay of Bengal Region, Amb. Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies, Gateway House addresses the staggered growth of BIMSTEC, whilst also highlighting its potential as a regional grouping. He identifies the lack of political commitment, bureaucratic inertia and insufficient engagement of the Third Space and disregard for the region as a community as the chief obstacles to a successful initiative.
If India wants to become a serious Indo-Pacific player, it has to prioritise implementation of the SAGAR initiative, look beyond the Quad to partner with smaller littoral states and provide alternatives to China’s investment strategies. This was the message from the recent Indian Ocean Conference in Hanoi, Vietnam
The Indian Ocean has served as a keystone of global politics, economics and culture for centuries. In modern times, after World War II, it emerged as a focal point for great power competition and subsequently, of global commerce as the pivot of economic growth shifted from Europe to the Asia Pacific, a feature which has since remained constant.
After losing power in January, Mahinda Rajapaksa, former president of Sri Lanka, is trying to re-enter politics by contesting for the prime minister’s seat in the elections on August 17. If he wins, it could destabilise Sri Lanka’s politics and impact relations with India, which had been hit under Rajapaksa’s rule. The future scenario will become clearer by next week.
The Trans-Pacific Partnership might soon be concluded if the U.S. Congress fast-tracks it, as recently announced, while the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership Agreement remains on slow-track. But the TPP, although ambitious, follows an outdated template, and it is the dynamic RCEP that can be a model for a new global rules-based framework
The agreement which is an outcome of India's Look East Policy will benefit India's Northeast states the most.