SASEC Powering Asia in the 21st Century defines the SASEC Vision by articulating shared aspirations of the SASEC countries (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka), and setting the path to achieve these through regional collaboration.

The SASEC Vision lays out a transformative opportunity for the subregion by generating synergies among three levers:

  • Resource to industry links. Leveraging natural resource-based industries by tapping into latent industrial demand within the subregion.
  • Industry to industry links. Promoting industry-to-industry links within the subregion to develop and strengthen regional value chains and enhance the region’s competitiveness.
  • Industry to infrastructure links. Expanding the region’s trade and commerce by providing access to regional and global markets through the development of subregional gateways and hubs.


The SASEC Operational Plan 2016–2025 presents the strategic objectives of the SASEC partnership, and the operational priorities of the four main SASEC sectors—transport, trade facilitation, energy, and economic corridor development.


The SASEC strategy aims to deliver on the overarching goals of SASEC—to increase trade and economic cooperation within South Asia, create links to East Asia and Southeast Asia, and promote sustained and inclusive economic growth through regional cooperation. These goals will be operationalized through four main operational priorities:

  • Enhancing physical connectivity through multimodal transport systems that are aligned closely with the development of markets;
  • Following a comprehensive approach to transport and trade facilitation that will expand the current focus from land-based to sea-borne facilitation, to complement investments in multimodal networks;
  • Enhancing electricity trade, which will lead to an expanded and diversified energy supply to meet energy needs and secure power reliability; and
  • Promoting synergies between economic corridors being developed in individual SASEC countries, and optimizing development impacts of these economic corridor investments through improved cross-border links.

Many of SASEC’s existing pipeline of projects were drawn from the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Regional Multimodal Transport Study, SAARC Regional Energy Trade Study and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Transport Infrastructure and Logistics Study driven by the shared common aspiration between SAARC, BIMSTEC, and SASEC for an integrated and prosperous Asia. These projects were revisited, aligned, and supplemented to reflect the emerging needs and priorities of the SASEC countries.


The Operational Plan steps up cooperation within the region, as relationships among countries grow and deepen. These sectoral strategies align each SASEC sector to the goals of SASEC, and reflect the overall focus of each sector.


  1. Upgrade and expand the road network in the SASEC subregion along the major trade routes;
  2. Improve rail connectivity in SASEC;
  3. Develop port infrastructure to enable the efficient handling of the subregion’s maritime trade and expand capacity to cope with the anticipated growth in container traffic;
  4. Promote coastal shipping and inland water transport to handle international trade; and
  5. Expand international airports’ capacity.


  1. Simplify trade documentation, increase automation, and expedite border clearance procedures to facilitate the movement of goods and vehicles;
  2. Promote automation in border agencies and facilitate the development of NSWs by maximizing their links with all border agencies and the trading
  3. Facilitate the strengthening of national conformance bodies and the development of infrastructure and facilities in SPS-related and other border agencies to help standardize testing and certification, enable the establishment of NSWs, and explore mutual recognition agreements;
  4. Develop and implement through-transport motor vehicle agreements to reduce the levels of border transhipment;
  5. Develop trade-related infrastructure in SASEC ports, land border crossings including “last mile” approaches and ICDs and bonded logistics facilities adjacent to land borders and in major centers of trade; and
  6. Build capacity to support the use of modern techniques and international best practices and enhance regional cooperation and coordination mechanisms among stakeholders involved in trade facilitation.


  1. Improve interconnections to access large-scale electricity and natural gas sources;
  2. Harness unused regional indigenous hydropower potential;
  3. Develop low-carbon alternatives including wind and solar; and
  4. Facilitate bilateral and regional coordination mechanisms and knowledge sharing such as technology transfer development practices toward the regional power trading market.


  1. Reinforcing existing value chains and developing new value-chain linkages between in-country corridors;
  2. Upgrading key transport and trade facilitation infrastructure to improve connectivity between in-country corridors; and
  3. Designing appropriate institutional mechanisms to serve as platforms for coordination and collaboration among the government and various stakeholders involved in ECD.