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Connectivity is the cornerstone of Inclusive Growth...
Connectivity is the cornerstone of Inclusive Growth in the
January 23, 2018, India International Centre, New Delhi
CUTS International, Himalayan Consensus Institute, Institute of
Chinese Studies, and The Asia Foundation organized a panel
discussion titled “Unleashing Connectivity for Inclusive Growth –
Leveraging Himalayan Consensus to Further India’s Act East Policy”.
The discussion introduced the idea behind Himalayan Consensus
process to the larger audience in Delhi and developed an initial
framework on how this platform can be used to usher connectivity and
people to people contact. In a moderated session, speakers reflected
on the work of their institutions and shaped up the discourse
especially in context of how this can shape the larger Act East
discourse for India.
Panelists included Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS
International; Laurence Brahm, Chair, Himalayan Consensus Institute;
Mallika Shakya, Assistant Professor, South Asian University; Sagar
Prasai, Country Representative, The Asia Foundation; and Sreemati
Chakrabarti, Vice-Chairperson and Honorary Fellow, Institute of
Chinese Studies, New Delhi.
Bipul Chatterjee explained the concept of connectivity by looking
through the tangible pillars of land-based transportation (road and
railways) connectivity, waterways connectivity and energy
connectivity. He stressed the importance of promoting
infrastructural investments for increased connectivity in the BBIN
region (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal) sub-region and the greater
Bay of Bengal Region including Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand. He
also emphasized on integrating private sector participation in the
connectivity development discourse.
Laurence Brahm explained how social entrepreneurs working in the
Himalayas came together to form Himalayan Consensus while trying to
protect their local culture and environment through local business
models. It was these concepts that came together as Himalayan
Consensus which promotes multilateral approach to development. HC
believes that conflict is not driven by clash of culture and
religion but through economic disempowerment and marginalisation of
He stressed on the importance of realising economic and people to
people connectivity by mobilizing shared resources and harnessing
technological opportunities that are smart, green and blue.
Mallika Shakya underscored the importance of conceptualizing the
idea of the Himalayas, borders, regions – what really constitutes
this huge geographical construct? To understand the present
realities, she emphasized the importance of exploring the historical
trajectory of human connectivity including movements of businessmen,
traders, relatives, workers and so on across the region.
Sagar Prasai emphasised that connectivity is integral for
development but geopolitics of the South Asian region inhibits
regional cooperation in a constructive manner. In terms of waterways
connectivity, the speaker said the new water management technologies
are not in reflected in geopolitical agenda and institution dealing
with the prevailing educational system. The speaker also argued that
for any sort of connectivity China should be taken into
consideration being another biggest economic and human resource
provider in the region.
Sreemati Chakrabarti gave an overview about ICS’s integral role in
informing India’s Ministry of External Affairs for key Track 1.5 or
Track 2 initiatives such as the BCIM Regional Economic Forum and the
Russia-India-China Trilateral Dialogue and the academic partner for
Boao Forum for Asia. She stressed the need to build a common
platform of think-tanks for working towards the connectivity
discourses by working harder on the enhancement of regional
connection, connecting research and business, and encouraging youth
and women participation for the same.
Sujeev Shakya moderator of the panel summarized on the need of using
the platform of Himalayan Consensus to further the connectivity
discourse across many areas. He emphasized on engaging youth in the
discourse and informed on the Youth Forum at the Summit in 2018 that
will be held jointly with Himalayan University Consortium of
International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).
For more information please contact:
Bipul Chatterjee, +91-98292-85921,
Sujeev Shakya, +977-98510-31977,