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.
While several Bay of Bengal countries are rich in hydropower and thermal electricity generation, others are net energy importers with large markets. India can lead creative energy projects with its eastern neighbours, supported by regional and international institutions.
ASEAN summits often tend to be routine affairs with long joint communiques. But the 26th October Summit had interesting dimensions. ASEAN had to balance Indo-Pacific rivalries, suspend Myanmar from attending, and expedite trade services agreements. As it seeks to expand its global engagement, ASEAN must remember to remain an area of solace and stability for its members.
On 6 October 2021, Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, Distinguished Fellow, Foreign Policy Studies Programme, spoke to Dr. Pramod Jaiswal, Strategic Affairs Editor at Khabarhub on the role of Nepal in BIMSTEC and SAARC, in an analysis of the 17th BIMSTEC ministerial meetings. He also highlighted the role of SAARC and BIMSTEC in countering Chinese influence in the region.
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.
Bangladesh fulfills an important stabilising role in South Asia. It has been able to perform this function in the last decade because of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina’s efforts to fortify the domestic scenario by first cracking down on terror outfits – and their political fronts. The clean-up was necessary, but a robust Opposition and democratic institutions need to be nourished too
Regional groupings in South Asia have turned out to be like diligent pupils whose report cards show performance below par. The reasons for such an impasse range from political divergences to the economic downturn and the much talked about China factor that has many implications for India
India’s global economic engagement, especially with the developing world, has increased in the last two decades, but trade with South Asia has remained low. It holds the potential for building greater productivity and more inclusive growth in India and the region
India’s new focus on Balochistan has more to do with the China Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC) than with Kashmir. China understands that CPEC may not be achievable. But there are real dangers in reviving Pakistani fears of secessionism and in broadening the field of Indo-Pakistani conflict beyond the confines of Kashmir.
The Indian government and businesses should stay away from giving an overly “mercantile” attitude to foreign policy and investments abroad. A deal secured by only economic heft and preying on weakness is likely to produce only bitter fruit later on.