News List

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

January 2024

Nepal Prime Minister, Sri Lanka President Discuss Regional and Bilateral Issues on 19th NAM Summit

Nepal Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Sri Lankan President Ranil Wickremesinghe , held talks on the sidelines of the 19th Summit of the Non-Aligned Movement (NAM) in Uganda. They discussed issues of bilateral interests. 

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Tags: Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tourism

October 2023

Ferry Service between India and Sri Lanka Inaugurated

The passenger ferry service from Nagapattinam, Tamil Nadu, India, to Kankesanthurao, Jaffna, Sri Lanka, was inaugurated on 14 October 2023. It is expected to bring the two nations closer together and benefit local traders of both countries, boost tourism, and increase people-to-people relations.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Shipping, Tourism, Transport

June 2023

Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau Eyes Bangladesh Market

The Association of Travel Agents of Bangladesh received a visit from the Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau (SLTPB). In a business-to-business network session, both sides discussed the promotion of tourism between both countries, remarking that historical and cultural links can be tapped. Sri Lanka aims to increase the number of visitors from Bangladesh to around 25,000 visitors by the end of this year.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Tourism

June 2023

Bhutan Invites Tourists to Stay Longer with SDF Incentives

Bhutan has rolled out a scheme that lowers the Sustainable Development Fee (SDF) for tourists who stay more than four nights in the country in a bid to further attract more visitors and entice them to stay longer. Under the new rules, tourists who pay the SDF for four days are allowed to stay an extra four days, while those who pay 12 days are allowed to stay for a full month.

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Tags: Bhutan, Tourism

June 2023

India-Sri Lanka Luxury Cruise Ship Sets Sail

Cordelia Express, the first luxury cruise ship between India and Sri Lanka, was flagged off on 5 June 2023 from Chennai Port, India. It set sail for Hambantota Port, Sri Lanka, and Trincomalee, Sri Lanka, and sailed back to Chennai on 9 June. Mr. Jurgen Bailom, Chief Executive Officer of the Cordelia Express, noted that the cruise ship is set to carry 50,000 passengers from India to Sri Lanka in the next four months.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Transport, Tourism

April 2023

Indian Tourists to be Able to Use e-Wallets in Nepal

The Governments of India and Nepal have agreed to allow Indian tourists in Nepal to make digital payments using Indian e-wallets. Mr. Naveen Srivastava, India’s Ambassador to Nepal, stated that the proposed agreement would help boost Nepal’s travel and tourism industry.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Tourism

February 2023

Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India Discusses Cooperation amid Economic Recovery with Government of India Officials

Mr. Milinda Moragoda, Sri Lankan High Commissioner to India, met with Mr. Pramod Kumar Mishra, Principal Secretary to the Prime Minister of India, on enhancing bilateral cooperation in the tourism sector. He also held discussions with Mr. Piyush Goyal, Minister of Commerce and Industry of the Government of India, and Ms. Nirmala Sitharaman, Finance and Corporate Affairs Minister of the Government of India, on a range of issues, including bilateral trade and commerce.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Tourism

January 2023

India to Encourage Investments in Sri Lanka’s Energy, Tourism, Infrastructure

Mr. S. Jaishnakar, External Affairs Minister of the Government of India, met with Mr. Ali Sabry, Foreign Minister of the Government of Sri Lanka. They discussed cooperation in infrastructure, connectivity, energy, industry, and health.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Energy, Tourism

January 2023

Indian Railways to Take Passengers on Trip from Ayodhya to Janakpur in Special Tour

A special tour will be operated by the Indian Railways showcasing pilgrimage sites in Ayodhya, India, and Janakpur, Nepal, in February. The "Bharat Gaurav Tourist Train” is an initiative that will strengthen bilateral relations and promote cultural relations between India and Nepal, according to an official statement issued by the Ministry of Railways.

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Tags: India, Nepal, Tourism, Transport

November 2022

India, Sri Lanka Discuss Implementation of Grant to Promote Buddhist Ties, Support the Jaffna Cultural Center

Mr. Gopal Baglay, Indian High Commissioner, and Mr. Vidura Wickramanayaka, Minister of Buddhasasana, Religious and Cultural Affairs of Sri Lanka, met to discuss the implementation of a $15 million grant by the Government of India to promote Buddhist ties and support the operations of the Jaffna Cultural Center (JCC) in Sri Lanka.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Tourism

September 2022

Bhutan Reopens Its International Borders

Bhutan reopened its borders to tourists on 23 September 2022. Bhutan’s reopening comes with a renewed focus on tourism sustainability, with priority placed on (i) upgrading infrastructure and services, (ii) elevation of tourists’ experiences, and (iii) maintaining carbon-neutral tourism.

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Tags: Bhutan, India, Trade, Tourism

August 2022

Bangladesh and Nepal Officials Emphasize Increasing Energy, Trade, Tourism Collaboration

Officials of the Governments of Bangladesh and Nepal attended a luncheon hosted by Mr. Md Shahriar Alam, State Minister for Foreign Affairs of the Government of Bangladesh. The event emphasized increasing collaboration between Bangladesh and Nepal in sectors such as hydropower, tourism, connectivity, trade, and people-to-people linkages.

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Tags: Bangladesh, Nepal, Energy, Trade, Tourism

August 2022

India and Maldives Laud Growth in People-to-People Linkages

Maldives President Ibrahim Mohamed Solih’s visit to India highlighted the growth in people-to-people ties between India and Maldives. India has become the top source for Maldives' tourism market. According to the press release, implementation of visa-free travel, improved air connectivity, exchange programs, and promoting cultural and economic linkages helped boost tourism.

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Tags: India, Maldives, Tourism, Connectivity

April 2021

Webinar Highlights Economic Potential of Bangladesh-India River Tourism

Experts discussed unique opportunities in river tourism between Bangladesh and India at a public-private dialogue on India-Bangladesh cross-border tourism and cruise operations organized by CUTS International on 29 April 2021.

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Tags: Bangladesh, India, Inland waterways, Transport, Tourism

January 2021

India, Sri Lanka Discuss Opportunities for Further Cooperation

India and Sri Lanka are looking forward to cooperating post-COVID-19, underscored Mr. Jaishankar during his visit to Sri Lanka. He noted that many opportunities are in discussion, such as special zones for pharmaceutical manufacturing and tourism. There were also proposals in infrastructure, energy, and connectivity. He also stressed that the Indian business community is strongly interested in investing in Sri Lanka.

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Tags: India, Sri Lanka, Tourism, Energy

December 2020

India, ADB Sign Facility to Help Boost Tripura’s Urban Services and Tourism

The Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a project readiness financing (PRF) facility worth $4.21 million for the Tripura Urban and Tourism Development Project. The Government of India will provide complementary financing of $1.05 million. The PRF will support the state government of Tripura in preparing infrastructure development projects that will upgrade the state’s urban amenities and boost its tourism infrastructure.

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Tags: India, ADB, Tourism, Urban Development, Tripura

August 2020

Meeting between Nepal Prime Minister, Sri Lanka Envoy Highlight Friendly Ties

Ms. Himalee Arunatilaka, Sri Lankan Ambassador to Nepal, called on Nepal Prime Minister K.P. Sharma Oli on 18 August in Kathmandu, Nepal. During their meeting, Prime Minister Oli noted the long history of Nepal-Sri Lanka bilateral relations and described Sri Lanka as a “very good friend of Nepal.”

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Tags: Nepal, Sri Lanka, Tourism, Trade

March 2020

LPAI Lauded for Infrastructure for Facilitation of Cross-Border Trade

Union Minister of State for Home Affairs Mr. Shri Nityanand Rai lauded the Land Ports Authority of India (LPAI) for work on border infrastructure for facilitation of cross-border trade and travel.

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Tags: ADB, India, Infrastructure, Trade, Trade Facilitation, Tourism

December 2018

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi Stresses Expanding Myanmar-Nepal Cooperation

Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi undertook her first state visit to Nepal. She paid a courtesy call to Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli where they explored how to further expand their bilateral ties. At the Nepal Chamber Expo 2018, she delivered a speech urging both countries to improve economic relations. She also emphasized both countries’ membership to the SASEC program.

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Tags: Myanmar, Nepal, Economic cooperation, Tourism, Transport, SASEC

June 2018

Sri Lanka High Commissioner: Vision Offers Opportunities for Indian Businesses

Ms. Chitranganee Wagiswara, high commissioner of Sri Lanka in New Delhi, India, urged Indian companies to take advantage of the ample business opportunities in Sri Lanka. She said Sri Lanka’s Vision 2025 positions the country as an export-oriented economic hub at the center of the Indian Ocean.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, India, Trade, Tourism, Jobs

May 2018

India, Myanmar Sign Agreement on Land Border Crossing

The Governments of India and Myanmar inked the Agreement on Land Border Crossing during the visit of Ms. Sushma Swaraj, External Affairs Minister of the Government of India, to Myanmar on 10-11 May 2018. This landmark agreement allows people from both countries to cross the land border with passport and visa, for purposes such as availing health and education services, pilgrimage, and tourism.

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Tags: India, Myanmar, Tourism

April 2018

Sri Lanka Finalizes National Export Strategy, Appoints Advisory Committees

The National Export Strategy (NES) of the Government of Sri Lanka has been finalized by the Export Development Board (EDB) and is ready for submission to the Cabinet. The strategy aims to boost the performance of the country's focus sectors and improve the business environment by developing trade support functions in logistics, trade information and promotion, and national quality infrastructure.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Exports, Trade, Trade Facilitation, Tourism

January 2017

Railway Network Linking India and its Neighbors Under Consideration

A railway network linking India and its neighboring countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, and Nepal, is being considered by the Government of India, according to India Railway Minister Suresh Prabhu. Developing railway connectivity will increase employment, interaction, trade, and tourism.

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Tags: India, Rail, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Trade, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Tourism, Employment

January 2017

Sri Lanka Seeks to Attract Foreign Investment, Boost Exports

The Government of Sri Lanka aims to attract $50 billion in foreign investment in the next 5-10 years to help develop infrastructure, and boost exports to $20 billion by 2020. This year, Sri Lanka expects to sign free-trade deals with India, Singapore, and China.

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Tags: Sri Lanka, Exports, India, China, Free Trade Agreement, BIMSTEC, Tourism

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

June 2016

Bhutan Air Connectivity Project to Upgrade Domestic Airports

Bhutan is upgrading three domestic airports—Bumthang, Gelephu, and Yonphula—to enhance their capacity, safety, and efficiency. The Asian Development Bank is providing additional financing for this SASEC project, to further strengthen safety and security, and improve passenger convenience and service at these airports.

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Tags: Bhutan, Airports, Transport, Tourism

December 2015

Commentary: South Asia Could Be Linchpin for Regional Integration

South Asia is set to play a strategic role in Asian integration. This commentary by Mr. Ganeshan Wignaraja, Advisor in the Asian Development Bank’s Economic Research and Regional Cooperation Department, shares how linking emerging South Asia with the more developed member countries of the Association of South East Asian Nations will transform regional economies through development of regional connectivity, and create a huge regional market of 2-3 billion people.

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Tags: South Asia, Economic corridor, Development, ASEAN, Southeast Asia, East Asia, Trade Facilitation, Transport, Tourism, manufacturing, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal

October 2015

E-Permit for Indian Visitors to Bhutan under Consideration

A meeting between Bhutan Tourism Board officials and India's State Tourism Secretary Ajit Ranjan Bardhan discussed ways to improve links between Bhutan and India, including introducing an online entry permit system for Indian visitors and easing immigration checks. Bhutan agreed to consider providing online permits by 2016, said Secretary Bardhan.

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Tags: ICT, India, Bhutan, Tourism