There appears to be a need for greater cooperation in the maritime domain in the Bay of Bengal, given the increasing rivalries in the region.
While trade liberalization and transportation infrastructure should remain BIMSTEC’s key priorities, the Bay of Bengal will not re-emerge as a regional space unless there are significant investments to foster people to people exchanges.
The resolution of many outstanding maritime territorial disputes and the tentative steps for political and security cooperation in the region provide the basis for imagining a Bay of Bengal community that will benefit all the peoples of the region.
Two recent developments point to the new directions in which the north-western Subcontinent could evolve.
Public debate around a universal basic income—periodic and unconditional cash payments to all citizens—has grown significantly after the 2016-17 Economic Survey outlined such a scheme for India.
Despite its status as a key maritime hub in global terms and all its economic promise, the Bay of Bengal’s potential is hamstrung by a lack of close internal economic integration among the countries that call the region home.
Faced with growing geopolitical turbulence and more aggressive maritime maneuvering, India and France are eager to expand their strategic engagement in the Indo-Pacific.
India and other countries around the Bay of Bengal should invest greater resources in the multilateral institution BIMSTEC to promote regional connectivity and shared prosperity.
The Indo-Pacific has emerged as a critical region in global politics. The stakes for India and Japan are rapidly rising in this theater, and the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) sits at the heart of it.
Despite repeated efforts, including at the highest political levels, Ottawa has seemed reluctant to address India’s concerns about the question of Sikh separatism in Canada.