Accepted Paper:

Connectivity, security, development: the tale of the East of South Asia  

Author:

Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury (Observer Research Foundation, Kolkata)

Paper short abstract:

Keeping China's increasing involvement in the adjoining areas of India's northeast, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar in mind, the proposed paper intends to analyse security- development conundrum against the backdrop of initiatives taken for strengthening cross-border connectivity.

Paper long abstract:

In an age of economic interdependence and cooperative security, connectivity has become a buzzword. Physical connectivity comprising land, water, and air components has been envisaged to further bilateral and multilateral ties among the nations in a region or sub region in order to complement each other's strengths and weaknesses. Initiatives to increase connectivity among the states in the eastern part of South Asia are not new. The Asian Development Bank, being impressed with the Greater Mekong Sub-region (GMS), took initiatives to promote the idea of a similar experiment of multilateral sub-regional cooperation in the name of SAGQ in the east of South Asia. Similar initiatives in the recent past have also been taken to form sub-regional groups like the BIMSTEC, BCIM-EC and BBIN. In all these cases, a major emphasis has been on improvement of overland connectivity between India's northeast and its contiguous area comprising India's eastern and southeastern neighbours. It is expected that, once these roads and railway lines become operational and inter-linkages are established within this select area, it will be a game changer for the landlocked India's northeast, which is one of the most complex regions in the entire Indian territory. Nonetheless the security-development nexus has become a major consideration in these endeavours. Against this backdrop, the proposed paper intends to focus on pros and cons of connectivity projects keeping China's increasing involvement in this part of the region in mind.

Panel P21
South Asia's changing security environment