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INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA CONNECTIVITY

  Jun 20, 2020

INDIA AND SOUTH ASIA CONNECTIVITY

What is going in South Asian Region?

South Asian region (Afghanistan, India, Pakistan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan and Maldives, sometimes Myanmar is also included) is today at crossroad of man regional initiatives going on by other super power. For example – BRI by china, Indo-pacific connectivity by USA. So, South Asia as a whole cannot remain isolated.

Is connecting Sout Asia a new step?

No, South Asia has been connected for long during British rule. But partition has created border disconnecting the earlier routes.

Why do we need connectivity in the region now?

South Asia is one of the least integrated regions of the world. In world of globalization, connectivity is base on which other superstructures such as trade, prosperity, peace and development prevails.  Also, the whole identity of the region is getting lost in name of bigger acronym such as Indo-pacific.

Why should India be concerned?

India should be concerned as India wants to find its rightful place in comity of nations since independence. It wants to move from Regional power to one of the global power.  Also, considering the scale at which China is making inroads in the neighborhood, India can no longer afford to be a fence sitter. 

What should be the India’s greater goal?

India should aim for

What India is doing for connectivity?

India is working at both Bilateral and multilateral levels.

Afghanistan
  • Air Freight Corridor: India and Afghanistan inaugurated a dedicated air freight corridor service in 2017.
  • Chahbahar Port can provide an alternative route to Afghanistan and Central Asia.
Nepal
  • Border rail links, transmission lines, roads and bridges, and Integrated Check Posts
  • developing inland waterways as a mode of transportation
  • Cross-border petroleum products pipeline from Motihari in India to Alekhgunj in Nepal has been started.
Bangladesh
  • We are focused on inland water transport, building container depots, upgrading and building rail and road links, and reviving cross-border energy connectivity.
  • Example- Agartala-Akhaura rail project.
Myanmar
  • Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit project, India-Myanmar- Thailand Trilateral Highway and the Rhi-Tiddim Road
Bhutan
  • Bhutan is part of BBIN.(though still has not ratified the agreement.)
Srilanka
  • In Sri Lanka, India has extended nearly US$ 1.2 billion towards the development of railway sector.
Maldives
  • India is developing maritime and aviation infrastructure which will enhance connectivity among the 200 inhabited islands in Maldives.

Other Regional Initiatives by India-

1) We are also seeking to develop the Chabahar Port as a gateway for onward connectivity to and from Afghanistan and Central Asia that will be linked with International North-South Transport Corridor.

2) India and Indonesia are setting up a Task Force to promote connectivity between Sumatra and Andaman Islands. We are developing the Sabang port in partnership with Indonesia.

3) ASEAN/BIMSTEC- Mekong Ganga, India-Myanmar Trilateral, Kaladan Multi modal project. India is also negotiating an Agreement on Maritime Transport with ASEAN and exploring ways to link our connectivity initiatives with the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity.