News List

Compiled features on recent developments in regional cooperation and integration in the SASEC region.

Year:
October 2017

Fourth India-Bangladesh JCC Meeting Discusses Progress of Key Bilateral Initiatives

Ms. Sushma Swaraj, Minister of External Affairs, India, and Mr. Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, Foreign Minister, Bangladesh, co-chaired the Fourth India-Bangladesh Joint Consultative Commission (JCC) Meeting, reviewing progress on key initiatives and decisions in areas including trade and investment, security, connectivity, border management, power, energy, shipping, and people-to-people exchanges.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Connectivity, Energy, Hydropower, Trade, Investment

October 2017

Bangladesh, India Finance Ministers Sign Third LoC, Note Good Relations

Mr. Abul Maal A. Muhith, Finance Minister, Bangladesh, and Mr. Arun Jaitley, Finance Minister, India, signed the Third Line of Credit from India to Bangladesh worth $4.5 billion, to be used for implementation of projects in connectivity. Mr. Jaitley lauded the outstanding relations between the two neighbors after a meeting with Mr. Muhith.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Connectivity, Energy, Rail, Shipping, Road, Ports

September 2017

Roundtable Urges Increased India-Myanmar Connectivity, Trade

A roundtable discussion held in Myanmar noted the need to substantially increase connectivity, trade and diplomatic relations between Myanmar and India. Officials from the two countries participated in the India-Myanmar Dialogue: Act East Policy and India-Myanmar Relations, held on 2 September 2017 in Yangon, Myanmar. The forum was organized by Parami Roundtable and Mizzima Media Group.

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Tags: ASEAN, BIMSTEC, Connectivity, India, Myanmar, Trade

June 2017

Commentary: South Asian Countries Building Connections

Mr. Prabir De, Professor at the Research and Information System for Developing Countries, discusses how the Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) subregional grouping’s focus to bridge connectivity gaps is crucial to reducing poverty in the region. He highlights the pressing need to begin implementing comprehensive trade facilitation and connectivity measures in the BBIN subregion, and remarks how success of the BBIN initiative is important to move broader regional integration initiative

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Tags: Connectivity, BBIN, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Energy, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal

June 2017

India Proposes Regional Air Connectivity Scheme among BIMSTEC Countries

The Government of India has proposed application of its "Ude Desh ka Aam Naagrik" (UDAN) or "Common People of the Country can Fly" policy among member countries of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). An enabling regional connectivity policy could help attract high value economic agents, business travelers, and tourists.

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Tags: India, BIMSTEC, Transport, Connectivity, Bhutan, Myanmar, Regional Cooperation

May 2017

Building Stronger Cooperation with BIMSTEC

The Secretary General of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) advised member countries to look at regional cooperation in a pragmatic way, with efforts to build regional cooperation focusing on achieving practical results, at the conference marking BIMSTEC’s 20th anniversary.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Connectivity, Regional Cooperation

April 2017

India Cabinet Approves Signing of BIMSTEC Power Grid Pact

India's Union Cabinet, chaired by Prime Minister Narendra Modi, approved the ratification of the MOU for the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection. The MOU is expected to be signed at the next BIMSTEC Energy Minsters' Meeting and provides a broad framework for energy trade among BIMSTEC member countries.

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Tags: BIMSTEC, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Connectivity, Energy, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand

March 2017

India-Myanmar Border "Haats" Performing Well

Informal trading in the Northeast region's border 'haats' (rural markets) between India and Myanmar is doing very well, reported Mr. Najib Shah, Chairman of India's Central Board of Excise and Customs. The Government of India is considering opening more border haats to promote trade ties with its neighbors.

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Tags: India, Myanmar, Trade, Trade Facilitation, Connectivity

February 2017

Speech: Advancing Global Trade and the Role of the WTO

The outlook for trade growth has weakened and we are seeing an uncertain period in the global economy. In this speech delivered before the Confederation of Indian Industry, World Trade Organization Director-General Roberto Azevêdo asserts that instead of raising barriers, the opening up of trade will ensure more opportunities for more people.

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Tags: Connectivity, Development, India, ICT, Employment, Services, Trade Facilitation Agreement, WTO

February 2017

Commentary: India Infrastructure: Connecting Bihar

The Ganges flows through the middle of Bihar, India, physically dividing it into north and south. Enhanced connectivity can improve lives and livelihoods, especially if the infrastructure is climate-sensitive. Ms. Saleha Waseem, Operations Communications Specialist at the Asian Development Bank’s South Asia Regional Department, shows how improving transport links would make a huge difference to millions of people.

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Tags: ADB, Agriculture, Bangladesh, Connectivity, Development, Economic corridor, Regional Cooperation, India, Nepal, Road, Services, Transport

February 2017

Commentary: Connecting Asia's Growth Poles

Mr. Wencai Zhang, Asian Development Bank Vice President, discusses in this commentary how Asia’s growth poles will drive the global economy in the coming years, if South Asia, Southeast Asia, and East Asia can dynamically integrate their economies. He emphasized the urgent need to synch strengths across sub-regions—by removing non-tariff barriers, strengthening connectivity, and building economic corridors—to help erase poverty in the region.

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Tags: ADB, Myanmar, Bangladesh, Connectivity, Economic Corridor Development

January 2017

Commentary: Need for Re-imagining Regional Cooperation

Limited cooperation and economic integration in South Asia continue to hinder its growth potential, despite being one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. In this commentary, Dr. Shamsul Alam, Member (Senior Secretary), General Economics Division, Planning Commission, Government of Bangladesh, argues for the need to think of pragmatic approaches and re-imagine regional cooperation in South Asia.

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Tags: ASEAN, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Connectivity, India, European Union, Infrastructure

January 2017

India to Sign Customs Convention on International Transport of Goods

India is set to join the Transports Internationaux Routiers (TIR), or International Road Transport Convention in its bid to establish seamless trade connectivity with Southeast Asia and Eurasian countries. Through the TIR Convention, India could access Eurasia via the International North-South Transport Corridor. TIR would also give India an advantage in trade with fellow signatories of the Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Connectivity, Customs, Economic corridor, Harmonization, Motor Vehicles Agreement, Road, Roads, Trade Facilitation, Trade, Transport, BBIN

December 2016

Commentary: Bhutan and Nepal: Two "Least Developed Nations" that Could Change Face of Asia

Least Developed Countries (LDCs) comprise around 880 million people yet account for less than 2% of the world gross domestic product. South Asian countries can accelerate economic development and graduate from the LDC category by working with each other. The economic future of their people could change radically through collaboration between the countries and lift millions of people out of poverty.

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Tags: Bhutan, Nepal, BBIN, Connectivity, Energy, SAARC, Sri Lanka, Trade, UNCTAD

December 2016

SASEC Roads Improvement Project to Boost Nepal's Transport Connectivity and Export Competitiveness

The Asian Development Bank has approved a loan for $187 million to Nepal for the SASEC Roads Improvement Project, which will upgrade transport connectivity and bring transformational gains by making social services more accessible, opening up previously untapped economic opportunities, and supporting trade between Nepal and India.

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Tags: SASEC, Transport, Nepal, Connectivity, ADB, Services, Trade

December 2016

SASEC Portfolio Tops $9 billion

The SASEC project portfolio has surpassed the $9 billion mark with the December 2016 approval of Nepal’s SASEC Roads Improvement Project, worth $256.5 million. There are now 44 SASEC investment projects worth a cumulative $9.13 billion. During 2016, seven projects have been approved for a total of $2.37 billion.

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Tags: SASEC, Trade Facilitation, Energy, Transport, Roads, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, ICT, Rail, Economic corridor, Connectivity

September 2016

ADB Approves $1.5 Billion Railway Project for Bangladesh

The Asian Development Bank has approved a multitranche loan of $1.5 billion to the Government of Bangladesh for construction of a key section of the Chittagong-Cox’s Bazar railway line—the largest ever investment in railways by ADB. The new line will improve Bangladesh’s access to Myanmar and beyond, facilitate trade, and boost tourism in southeastern Bangladesh.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Myanmar, Rail, Connectivity, Transport, Trade, Tourism

August 2016

SAARC Finance Ministers Meeting Focuses on Trade, Taxation

The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Finance Ministers’ Meeting focused on improving trade relations among member nations. Discussions revolved around economic issues, Customs unions, avoidance of double taxation, improving connectivity, increasing trade volume, and developing supply chain linkages.

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Tags: SAARC, India, Trade, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Connectivity, Customs, SASEC, Trade

March 2016

Industrial Park and Connectivity on SAARC CCI Agenda

The development of a SAARC Industrial Park is one of the top priorities of the SAARC Chamber of Commerce and Industry (SAARC CCI), and will enable the sharing of technical knowledge for industries and services among SAARC countries, and promote intra-SAARC trade and investment, according to new SAARC CCI President Suraj Vaidya. SAARC CCI will also work toward boosting connectivity in the region.

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Tags: SAARC CCI, Connectivity, Private Sector, Nepal

November 2015

Bhutan and Sri Lanka Hold First Annual Bilateral Consultation

The first annual bilateral consultation between the Government of Bhutan and the Government of Sri Lanka, held on 16 November 2015 in Colombo, discussed cooperation in regional and multilateral forums, and air connectivity. Membership of regional organizations and frameworks, including SAARC and BIMSTEC, was emphasized by the two countries as one way to strengthen links and enhance trade and economic cooperation.

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Tags: Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Bilateral Trade, Connectivity, Transport

August 2015

Dhaka-Sylhet Highway to be Widened into Four-Lane Road

The Bangladesh Government will take steps to widen the Dhaka-Sylhet highway to four lanes to facilitate the flow of traffic, following completion of a feasibility study and detailed design of this national highway. The study was conducted by the Road and Highways Department, Bangladesh, with funding from the Asian Development Bank (ADB) technical assistance.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Transport, Connectivity

November 2014

SAARC Moves toward Multimodal Connectivity in South Asia

South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) member countries are currently working on six Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) that will link South Asia by rail, road, air and sea, to stimulate greater trade within the region.  This includes the SAARC Motor Vehicles Agreement and SAARC Regional Railways Agreement.

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Tags: Connectivity, South Asia, Transport

November 2014

SASEC Program Launches Mobile App

The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Program has released a mobile app now available for download. This free app is your one-stop shop for the latest information on SASEC Program projects, news, events, and other knowledge products.

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Tags: Connectivity, Energy, Transport, Trade Facilitation

September 2014

Single Permit System Proposed for SAARC Road Transport

A single permit system facilitating easy movement of goods and people through road transport within the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) region may soon be a possibility, as SAARC member states consider this proposal during a meeting of SAARC officials in Rajasthan, India.

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Tags: Transport, SAARC, Connectivity

August 2014

Bangladesh to Open Sea Ports to Neighbors

Following a meeting with Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina on the sidelines of an India-Bangladesh business conclave on 24 August 2014, Tripura Industries and Commerce Minister Tapan Chakraborty said that Bangladesh will allow neighboring countries to use Ashuganj and Chittagong sea ports for multi-modal transport. This move is expected to further enhance economic integration among South Asian countries.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Bilateral Trade, India, Connectivity, Transport

August 2014

'Regional Connectivity for Shared Prosperity': UNESCAP's Roadmap to An Inclusive Future

Economic dynamism in the Asia-Pacific region has been driven primarily by individual economies, yet to ensure sustainable growth in the future, countries must integrate and cooperate to share prosperity, according to the 2014edition of the Economic and Social Survey of Asia and the Pacific.

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, Poverty Reduction, UNESCAP, Asia-Pacific, Energy, Connectivity, ICT, LDC, SASEC, Trade, Transport

July 2014

Coastal Shipping between Bangladesh and India to Enhance Transport Efficiency, Trade

A coastal shipping arrangement between Bangladesh and India will soon facilitate faster shipment of goods between the two countries, and enable better access to India's northeastern regions. It is also expected to give bilateral trade a boost. Trials runs in Chittagong port and Kolkata port are scheduled to begin by October 14.

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Tags: Transport, Regional Cooperation, Connectivity

June 2014

Bhutan and India to Pilot Secure Cross-Border Cargo Model

The Royal Kingdom of Bhutan and India are moving to more sophisticated technologies in an effort to increase trade efficiencies between the two countries. In May 2014, government officials from Bhutan and India agreed to embark on a feasibility study that will pilot UNESCAP's Secure Cross-Border Transport Model (SCBTM) along key trade corridors, aimed at speeding up and reducing the cost of trade through designated land routes and border-crossing points.

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Tags: Transport, Connectivity, Economic corridor

May 2014

From 4 Strands to 6: New SASEC Logo Launched

The new SASEC logo unveiled in May reflects the inclusion of the Maldives and Sri Lanka into the SASEC program. It also represents the continuous commitment of SASEC to strengthen regional cooperation and integration in South Asia.

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Tags: Regional Cooperation, Regional Integration, Connectivity

March 2014

BIMSTEC Senior Officials Visit the Myawaddy-Kawkareik Section of the Trilateral Highway Project

BIMSTEC senior officials visited the Myawaddy-Kawkareik Road Project in Myanmar on 20 March 2014, at the southeastern end of the Trilateral Highway connecting India, Myanmar and Thailand. The $38 million Government of Thailand-financed project is upgrading and constructing 45.5 kilometers of national highway, and rehabilitating the Myanmar-Thailand Friendship Bridge.

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Tags: Transport, Connectivity, BIMSTEC

February 2014

SAARC Development Fund Brainstorming Workshop for Evolving Strategic Plan

The South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Development Fund met on 12-14 February 2014 in New Delhi, India to brainstorm on its evolving strategic plan. It reviewed the purpose, methodology, and sustainability of social window activities; explored fund-raising opportunities and loan instruments; and prioritized projects for funding.

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Tags: SAARC, Regional Cooperation, Connectivity

February 2014

Upgrade of Jaidevpur-Chandra-Tangail-Elenga Highway in Bangladesh Underway

Aligned with South Asia Sub-regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC), the Government of Bangladesh will implement a Tk 27.88 billion ($358. 59 million) project to upgrade the Jaidevpur-Chandra-Tangail-Elenga highway which forms part of Asian Highway-2, Asian Hghway-41, and SAARC Highway Corridor-4 to facilitate road connectivity with neighboring countries.

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Tags: Transport, Connectivity, Bangladesh