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Regional Connectivity in the Bay of Bengal

Asia Pacific Bulletin

Publisher:

Washington, DC: East-West Center

Available From: May 12, 2021
Publication Date: May 12, 2021

 

The East-West Center in Washington partners with Asian Confluence to tap regional perspectives on ongoing and planned efforts to connect the Bay of Bengal.


Forging a Bay of Bengal Community is the Need of the Hour
Sabyasachi Dutta, executive director of Asian Confluence, explains that “Historically the Bay has been a connector for the diverse peoples of South and Southeast Asia via trade and cultural interactions.” 

Importance of the Bay of Bengal as a Causeway between the Indian and Pacific Oceans
Tariq Karim, Director of the Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies at the Independent University, Bangladesh, explains that “Countries understand better now the stark reality and need for developing intrinsic resilience by creating and establishing value and supply chains domestically, and extending them regionally across borders to countries in their near vicinity.” 

Harnessing Inland Waterways for Inclusive Trade Among Bay of Bengal Countries
Veena Vidyadharan, Fellow at CUTS International, explains that “Despite existing bilateral agreements for using designated riverine routes for trade and transit, only in the past few years have infrastructural development initiatives started in India for constructing river terminals, multimodal terminals as well as fairway development.” 

Making BIMSTEC a Regional Vehicle for Nepal’s Economic Growth
Sunil K.C., founder at the Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs, explains that "With the successful arrangement of the BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement (BFTAFA), Nepal will have an opportunity to use deep-sea ports in BIMSTEC member countries beyond India." 

Dealing with Coronavirus Pandemic in the Bay of Bengal Region
Prabir De, Professor, Research, and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS), New Delhi, explains that “The major challenges for the Bay of Bengal countries are primarily threefold: secure vaccines at an affordable rate, supply the vaccines with the required technological sophistication, and ensure the safe and secure administration of vaccinations.” 

Sri Lanka’s Asia-Centric Focus in a Contested Bay of Bengal Region
Dushni Weekaroon and Kithmina Hewage, Executive Director and Research Economist, respectively, at the Institute of Policy Studies of Sri Lanka, explain that “Unless carefully assessed and managed, small but strategically positioned countries like Sri Lanka can get swept up and carried away in power rivalries being played out on their shores.” 

Improving Land Connectivity Around the Bay of Bengal is Essential for Integration
Pritam Banerjee, Logistics Sector Specialist Consultant with the Asian Development Bank, explains that “Multi-modal solutions that support optimal use of international connectivity from different air and marine hubs in the region can only be facilitated by an existing efficient road freight feeder network.”  


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