Compiled features on recent developments in regional cooperation and integration in the SASEC region.


June 2017
Forum Emphasizes Importance of Cooperation in Regional Initiatives

A forum in Kathmandu, Nepal explored actions that will allow landlocked countries to take advantage of being "land-linked". Mr. Bipul Chatterjee, Executive Director, CUTS International, underscored the importance of cooperation among the four countries to be able to move forward.

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Tags:  NepalRegional CooperationBangladeshBhutanIndiaInfrastructure

April 2017
India, Sri Lanka Sign MoU for Cooperation in Economic Projects

Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe visited India on 25-29 April 2017, for discussion with India Prime Minister Narendra Modi on a range of bilateral issues and matters of mutual interest. Prime Minister Wickremesinghe welcomed the signing of the MoU for Cooperation in Economic Projects, which outlines the agenda for bilateral economic cooperation.

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Tags:  IndiaSri LankaInfrastructureTradeTrade FacilitationTransport

February 2017
ADB to Increase Support to Nepal to $1.2 Billion

ADB has allocated $843.8 million for Nepal for 2017-2019. An additional $356 million can be made available over the period for projects contributing to regional cooperation and integration and reduction of disaster risks, provided that Nepal continues to improve performance of its ongoing projects, according to Mr. Wencai Zhang, Vice President, ADB. 

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Tags:  NepalADBRegional CooperationInfrastructureEnergy

January 2017
Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism Agrees to Expedite Project Implementation

The second meeting of the Nepal-India Oversight Mechanism, held on 30 January 2017 in Kathmandu, Nepal, reviewed progress of India-funded economic and development projects in Nepal, and agreed to expedite implementation of these projects for timely completion. Projects discussed included cross-border railways, integrated check posts, and cross-border transmission lines.

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Tags:  IndiaNepalRailHydropowerInfrastructureTransportEnergy

January 2017
Commentary: Need for Re-imagining Regional Cooperation

Limited cooperation and economic integration in South Asia continue to hinder its growth potential, despite being one of the fastest-growing regions in the world. In this commentary, Dr. Shamsul Alam, Member (Senior Secretary), General Economics Division, Planning Commission, Government of Bangladesh, argues for the need to think of pragmatic approaches and re-imagine regional cooperation in South Asia.

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Tags:  ASEANBangladeshBhutanConnectivityIndiaEuropean UnionInfrastructure

November 2016
Bangladesh to Improve Ease of Doing Business to Attract More Indian Investors

In a meeting with the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Mr. Kazi M. Azul Islam, Chairman, Bangladesh Investment Development Authority, promised CII delegates that Bangladesh will work toward improving the country’s ‘Ease of Doing Business’ to encourage more investors from India. Bangladesh has set a five-year target to improve its ease of doing business.

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Tags:  BangladeshIndiaEase of Doing BusinessInvestmentEnergyInfrastructureBilateral Trade

October 2016
India's Foreign Secretary Discusses Potential Partnerships with Sri Lanka's President, Prime Minister

Mr. S. Jaishankar, Foreign Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, India, called on Sri Lanka President Maithripala Sirisena to discuss potential partnerships between India and Sri Lanka in sectors including energy, infrastructure, and transport, and Sri Lanka Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe to further discuss boosting bilateral trade and investment.

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Tags:  IndiaSri LankaEnergyInfrastructureTransport

October 2016
VCIC Receives Major Support from ADB

The $631 million loan and grant support from the Asian Development Bank provides a huge boost to the 800-kilometer Visakhapatnam-Chennai Industrial Corridor (VCIC) section of the 2500-km East Coast Economic Corridor. Approved in September 2016, the VCIC Development Program will help develop India’s first coastal industrial corridor and create seamless trade links between South and Southeast Asia.

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Tags:  Economic corridorIndiaVizag-Chennai Industrial CorridorInfrastructureEase of Doing Business

May 2016
1,400 Kilometer Highway to Link India, Myanmar, and Thailand

A 1,400 kilometer highway will soon connect South and Southeast Asia by linking India with Myanmar and Thailand. Mr. Bhagwant Singh Bishnoi, Indian Ambassador to Thailand, noted that the tri-nation highway exemplifies India's "Act East" policy, and will facilitate transit of goods and further development of SMEs in north India. The three countries are currently working to finalize negotiations for the groundbreaking India-Myanmar-Thailand Motor Vehicle Agreement.
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Tags:  IndiaMyanmarThailandTrade FacilitationInfrastructureSmall and Medium Enterprises

April 2016
India Approves MoU on Technical Cooperation with Bhutan

The Governments of Bhutan and India are set to sign a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on technical cooperation in the field of capacity building, benchmarking and bilateral exchange in infrastructure engineering, following approval of the Government of India in a meeting chaired by India Prime Minister Narendra Modi. The MoU will provide an umbrella for educational, scientific and technical research and environment protection.
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Tags:  IndiaBhutanInfrastructureCooperationEnvironment

April 2016
Commentary: Political Economy of Regional Integration: Where Do We Stand in South Asia?

Dr. Selim Reihan notes that drivers of political economy can impact the region's integration agenda. In this essay, Dr. Raihan highlights the importance of exploring the political economy of regional integration to generate a better assessment of the factors driving and constraining regional integration, and create broader awareness among stakeholders to stimulate a more realistic and effective regional policy design and processes.

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Tags:  Economic corridorBhutanIndiaBangladeshNepalMaldivesSri LankaSAARCSAFTAServicesSouth AsiaInfrastructureTrade FacilitationTransport

August 2015
Koshi Bridge Restores Connectivity in Nepal's Eastern Development Region

The newly-constructed Koshi Bridge, inaugurated by Nepal Prime Minister Sushil Koirala on 3 August 2015, improves road connectivity and restores economic activities in the eastern region of Nepal. The bridge provides an alternate route and improves mobility, creating new opportunities for growth. It was constructed with financial assistance from the Asian Development Bank.
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Tags:  NepalInfrastructureTransport

July 2015
BRICS Launches New Development Bank

Officials from the world’s largest emerging nations - Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) - launched the New Development Bank (NDB) on 21 July 2015 in Shanghai, China. The NDB will lend money to developing countries and help finance infrastructure projects in BRICS countries.
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Tags:  BRICSInfrastructureNew Development Bank

May 2015
Third Airport Terminal Receives Nod from Bangladesh Prime Minister

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina gave the directive to go ahead with the construction of the third terminal of Hazrat Shahjalal International Airport to handle growing passenger capacity and strengthen connectivity in the international arena. PM Hasina views Bangladesh as an important hub – a bridge between East and West.
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Tags:  BangladeshTransportInfrastructure

January 2015
Prime Minister Modi Vows to Make India Easiest Business Destination

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi promised to make India the easiest destination to do business with at the inauguration of the Vibrant Gujarat Summit on 11 January 2015. With global leaders and foreign investors in attendance, he highlighted India's investor-friendly climate, and said that India is working to upgrade its manufacturing infrastructure by modernizing ports and improving road and rail connectivity.
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Tags:  IndiaInfrastructureTrade Facilitationmanufacturing

December 2014
ADB to Fund Infrastructure and Energy Projects in Bangladesh

The Asian Development Bank, along with other bilateral donors, will fund US$4.5 billion worth of infrastructure and energy-related projects in Bangladesh. The Economic Relations Division of the Bangladesh Ministry of Finance is seeking funding from ADB for four projects, including upgradation of Bheramara HVDC station to import additional 500MW power from India.
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Tags:  InfrastructureEnergyBangladesh

November 2014
SAARC Development Bank Proposed during 18th SAARC Summit

Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) has recommended the establishment of a South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Development Bank that would prioritize financing of regional infrastructure projects among SAARC member nations.
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Tags:  SAARCInfrastructureSAFTA

September 2014
Government of Nepal Requests Financing for Bridges

The Government of Nepal has requested financing from the Government of India for construction of bridges across the Terai as part of the second phase of a road project linking the East-West Highway to several border points. Around 62 bridges are required for the project.
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Tags:  IndiaInfrastructureNepalTransport

September 2014
Maldives – Ready for Special Economic Zones?

President Abdulla Yameen ratified the Special Economic Zones Act on 1 September 2014 to stimulate economic growth in Maldives and transform the economy through diversification, less stringent regulations, and tax concessions that would attract foreign investors into the country. This would make the economy less dependent on tourism and more open to infrastructure development.
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Tags:  MaldivesSpecial Economic ZoneInfrastructure

July 2014
BRICS New Development Bank Launched

Brazil, Russia, India, China, and South Africa (BRICS) formally launched a joint international development bank during the annual BRICS Summit in Fortaleza, Brazil to mobilize resources for infrastructure and sustainability projects in BRICS, and other emerging and developing countries. The BRICS New Development Bank, with headquarters located in Shanghai, will have an initial authorized capital of $100 billion.
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Tags:  BRICSIndiaInfrastructure

April 2014
SASEC Total Project Investments Break $5 Billion

Since approval of the first project in 2001, $5.36 billion has been invested under SASEC in transport, energy, and trade facilitation projects. Overall, 30 SASEC projects are helping the member countries strengthen regional connectivity infrastructure, promote economic growth, and foster regional cooperation. A further $55 million has supported 54 technical assistance projects.
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Tags:  LoanGrantsTechnical AssistanceInfrastructure

April 2014
South Asia Needs $2.5 Trillion Investment to Close Infrastructure Gap

South Asia’s tremendous growth is leading to large infrastructure gaps that need to be addressed. According to a new report, “Reducing Poverty by Closing South Asia’s Infrastructure”, closing the gap of South Asia’s development goals and its capability to attain these goals needs a $2.5 trillion investment over the next decade.
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Tags:  InfrastructureTransportEnergy

February 2014
$125 Million to Upgrade Roads in India's Northeastern Region

On 17 February 2014, the Government of India and the Asian Development Bank (ADB) signed a $125 million loan for the second tranche of the ADB-financed North Eastern States Road Investment Program, approved in 2013. Reconstruction and rehabilitation of more than 236 kilometers (km) of state roads in Assam, Manipur, Mizoram, and Tripura will contribute to increased transport efficiency in the project area, as well as better mobility and accessibility in the wider North Eastern region of India.
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Tags:  IndiaInfrastructureTransport

January 2014
ADB Regional Cooperation Operations Business Plan (RCOBP) 2014-2016 for South Asia

ADB's third Regional Cooperation Operations Business Plan (RCOBP) 2014-2016 for South Asia under its South Asia Regional Cooperation Strategy (RCS) 2011-2015 details a cumulative indicative lending program of $3.3 billion and maintains focus on improved regional connectivity, increased cross-border trade, and strengthened regional economic cooperation.
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Tags:  Regional CooperationSouth AsiaInfrastructure

January 2014
Economic Corridor Development for Inclusive Asian Regional Integration

The experience of economic corridor development in different regions across continents is examined in this publication, which shares detailed models that assess the economic impact of corridor investments. The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) model highlights the regionally inequitable impact of corridor projects and focuses on the incremental effects of infrastructure investments in terms of gains in per capita income.
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Tags:  Economic corridorEuropean UnionInfrastructure