The Indo-Pacific region of South and Southeast Asia is crucial in terms of economic growth, peace, security and political stability of Asia and the Pacific, and, in turn, the world at large. India’s role in overall integration of the Indo-Pacific region is crucial. India‘s connectivity with the Indo-Pacific region is strategically important for not only peace, security, stability and prosperity of this region but also the other parts of the world. Given the political realities in the region and concerns for sustained economic growth, peace, stability and security, it is an imperative that these countries have meaningful dialogues and agreements to cooperate in various fields. Trade, investment, knowledge-sharing and people-to-people connectivity and cooperation can function as a conduit for a much larger integration and cooperation including knowledge sharing in critical security-related subjects that will ultimately help in sustained economic growth, peace, stability and security in the region.
Recent developments in the sub-region involving Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) and beyond, the emergence of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), the ongoing negotiations on the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) and the likes have indeed opened up new possibilities. In short, there are signs that BIMSTEC and ASEAN are coming closer in respect to trade and economic cooperation, with expected positive spill-over effects on other areas of cooperation leading to greater peace, security (including maritime security) and stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Given this backdrop, this project will aim to strengthen the connections between United States of America and the South and Southeast Asian countries in the Indo-Pacific region, particularly between BBIN and BIMSTEC. It will harness the present positive political climate to give a further push to intra- and inter-regional trade, investment, knowledge-sharing and people-to-people connectivity. It will help relevant stakeholders including policy-makers, private sector, trade and investment promotion bodies including business associations, media and other relevant stakeholders interested in a more prosperous, stable, secured and connected Indo-Pacific region to better understand connectivity-related issues, facilitate exchange of ideas, concerns and possible solutions and come up with concrete policy recommendations towards a better trade, investment, knowledge-sharing and people-to-people connectivity, ultimately leading to an economically thriving, peaceful, stable and secured region resulting in more opportunities to do business for all stakeholders.
Project Goals and Objectives
Goal: The goal is to bring together compelling evidence, rationale and expertise towards enhancing trade, investment, energy cooperation, knowledge-sharing and people-to-people connectivity between South and Southeast Asian countries of the Indo-Pacific region, and come up with concrete policy recommendations to that end. It aims to provide a push to the ongoing initiatives on intra- and inter-regional integration and contribute positively towards political and commercial convergence of issues surrounding Indo-Pacific connectivity by bringing together multiple stakeholders as mentioned above, who are interested in greater trade and investment connectivity and cooperation through knowledge-sharing in the region and enhancing the exchange and connect among them.
Objectives: The overall objective is to create a multi-stakeholder, multi-country platform and network for exchange, discussions and deliberations amongst key stakeholders (public and private) on Indo-Pacific trade, investment, knowledge-sharing and people-to-people connectivity which will culminate with a two-day conference in Kolkata.
The initiative will aim to:
- Discuss and deliberate on trade, investment, knowledge-sharing and people-to-people connectivity in the Indo-Pacific region of South and Southeast Asia countries to bring to light present scenarios, possibilities and action agenda with focus on:
- potential for enhanced flow of trade and investment between countries in the region
- hurdles to cross-border trade and investment in the region and their possible solutions, with focused deliberations on possibilities of US investment in the region
- possibilities of creating new platforms for knowledge-sharing with particular emphasis on the youth
- potential, hurdles and possible solutions for better people-to-people connect for countries in the region with particular emphasis on the youth
- Share good practices from countries in the region on pro-trade, investment, knowledge-sharing and people-to-people connectivity initiatives
- Come up with concrete policy recommendations aimed at facilitating higher volume of trade and investment flows, creation of new platforms for knowledge-sharing and enhanced people-to-people connect in the region ultimately boosting the growth prospects and peace dividends in the emerging and other markets in the region and their spill-over effects on other parts of the world
- Facilitate networking between and among policy-makers, business leaders, private sector, trade and investment promotion bodies including business associations, media and other relevant stakeholders of this region and the United States of America towards discussing existing and possible opportunities in trade and investment partnerships