India is a founding member of the SASEC Program, joining with Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal in 2001 to form this project-based partnership. Maldives and Sri Lanka became full members of SASEC in May 2014, following several years as active observers.

The country released its comprehensive national Strategy for New India @ 75, which defines growth objectives for 2022 and discusses policy recommendations in such areas as energy, infrastructure, and connectivity. The development strategy aims to help India achieve broad-based economic growth to ensure balanced development across all regions and states and across sectors.

SASEC Projects in India

Since 2002, the Government of India has signed 20 SASEC investment projects worth around $7.18 billion.

India: SASEC Projects
Source: SASEC Project Portfolio, as of March 2023

Source: SASEC Project Portfolio, as of March 2023

In addition to the projects, technical assistance has supported SASEC investment projects in India, regional cooperation forums and knowledge-sharing initiatives, and pilot projects since 2001. A total of 20 national technical assistance projects (cumulative worth around $23.53 million) have assisted India in project preparation, strategic planning, and capacity building.

Trade Snapshot

Direction of Intra-regional Trade

The value of India's merchandise exports and imports trade with other SASEC member countries, using International Monetary Fund data from 2022, is captured in the tables below.

India's top import source from the SASEC subregion is Bangladesh, with imported goods valued at over $1 billion. Sri Lanka follows, with imported goods valued at over $689 million.

Bangladesh is India's 6th largest export market, with exports valued at over $7.8 billion. Nepal is India's 12th largest export market, where exported goods from India is valued at over $5.8 billion.

India Trade - Import

Source: IMF Direction of Trade Statistics, accessed May 2022

India Trade - Export

Source: IMF Direction of Trade Statistics, accessed May 2022

Logistics Performance Index (LPI)

Of the SASEC member countries, India scored highest at 3.18 and a rank of 44. India's overall LPI score in 2018 is ahead of the South Asia regional average of 2.51. The country posted its best scores in timeliness (3.5), tracking and tracing (3.32), and international shipments (3.21).

India LPI 2018

Source: World Bank LPI (accessed December 2018)

Note: The LPI overall score reflects perceptions of a country's logistics based on six core dimensions: (i) efficiency of customs clearance process, (ii) quality of trade- and transport-related infrastructure, (iii) ease of arranging competitively priced shipments, (iv) quality of logistics services, (v) ability to track and trace consignments, and (vi) frequency with which shipments reach the consignee within the scheduled time. The scores for the six areas are averaged across all respondents and aggregated to a single score using principal components analysis. A higher score indicates better performance.

Economic Outlook

Asian Development Outlook

The contact-intensive services sector reflected strong demand as India returns to normalcy from the COVID-19 pandemic. The economy grew strongly in the first quarter of fiscal year (FY) 2022, driven by private consumption and gross capital formation. However, a weak global demand will likely affect growth, forecast at 7.0% in FY2022 and 7.2% in FY2023. Persistent inflation has led to tightened monetary policy, with inflation rates projected at 6.7% in FY2022 and 5.8% in FY2023.

Source: Asian Development Outlook 2022 Update (ADB)
South Asia Economic Focus

In India, exports and overall economic activity have recovered more strongly than the rest of the world. Growth is forecast at 6.5% in FY2022-2023. Tourism is also recovering though arrivals are still below what they were before the COVID-19 pandemic. Services and construction have expanded significantly in 2022, along with private consumption. Inflation is attributed to the depreciation of exchange rates and the rise of global oil prices.

Source: South Asia Economic Focus, Fall 2022 (WB)