Amid an increasingly belligerent China, which has set its focus on the South Asian region, India must ensure early or at least timely completion and implementation of all pending initiatives pertaining to economic, infrastructure and trade framework.
One of the biggest problems that India faces is the failure in real execution of proposed plans and framework in a timebound manner—whether international or domestic, two analysts India Narrative spoke to said on condition of anonymity.
“There is an urgent need to focus on timely execution of projects and framework. Delay in implementation gives rise to uncertainty. Contrast this to China’s strategy. It has been very quick and steady in implementation,” one of them said, adding that these critical gaps leave a window for Beijing to turn them into opportunities.
Foreign policy observers in India said that New Delhi must also start preparing to play a much larger role in the new regional order, especially as an alternative to China as several countries including the US are now looking for newer allies.
Covid 19 and its implications
The outbreak of Covid 19 has further dented progress.
“Though the outbreak of Covid 19 has thrown up huge challenges and derailed progress and implementation of several initiatives in the region, the region has the ability to bounce back. For that countries must enhance co-operation, focus on commonalities, keep aside thorny issues which would take time to resolve. In fact, Covid 19 has also provided a common thread to the countries of the region for increased information exchange and co-operation,” Nazneen Ahmed, senior research fellow at Bangladesh Institute of Development Studies (BIDS) told India Narrative.
Economic prospects of South Asia
While the outbreak of Covid 19 has somewhat derailed economic growth in the region, which is home to about one fourth of the world’s population, it has the advantage of a robust domestic demand. A World Bank report published in March said that seamless transport connectivity between India and Bangladesh has the potential to increase national income by as much as 17 per cent in Bangladesh and 8 per cent in India.
“Countries in the Bay of Bengal region have not yet managed to achieve their true growth potential because of multiple reasons, which are often political. But now, we need to focus on the common goals based on the shared culture, history and heritage so that implementation of all projects can be expedited,” Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International said. Chatterjee too said that it is critical now to ensure timely early closure. completion and execution of all pending and proposed projects and protocols.