A much repeated statement about South Asia is that
it is one of the least integrated and connected regions of the world.
Intra-regional trade hovers around five percent of the total trade of
South Asian countries. This lack of connectivity and integration has
long been accepted as one of the biggest contributors to the sub-optimal
utilization of the region’s economic potential and hence gains for all
However, of late, there have been many positive developments, including the emergence of BBIN sub-regional grouping, increasing political and strategic capital on the BIMSTEC grouping and a high point in terms of India-Bangladesh relationships with frequent and very fruitful visits by the heads of the states in receptive countries shoring up much hope on cooperation riding on high political will at the top level.
Also, recent and ongoing initiatives in the region and in the immediate neighborhood, particularly those with strategic and geo-political implications, have prompted action by countries of the region and also those countries that are invested in a more connected South Asia. This includes the U.S. activities to increase regional economic connectivity, Japan’s engagement with Bangladesh in the Bay of Bengal Industrial Growth Belt (Big B) initiative, the recently launched Asia-Africa Growth Corridor by Japan and India, and so on. The time is ripe for focused interventions to leverage this enabling climate to push for greater connectivity in the South Asia sub-region.
CUTS International and its partner organizations, The East-West Center (EWC), Federation of Indian Chamber of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), and the International Union for the Conservation of Nature (IUCN) , have been engaged concerning these paradigm shifts and developments through evidence based policy advocacy on pertinent issues and by bringing key players together to help find solutions to common problems based on shared concerns and aspirations.
Over the last couple of years the consortium partners have been engaging with the trade, connectivity, political economy and investment space at various levels in the sub-region to push for greater cooperation, policy coherence and coming together of countries in the sub-region to find collective solutions to shared issues. With this backdrop, the consortium wishes to organize this South Asia Connectivity Conference to provide a further push to the agenda of regional cooperation and connectivity that they have been already pursuing.
Project Coverage: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka
1) Economic cooperation and connectivity
2) Regional investment
3) Security cooperation and connectivity