Transforming Eastern South Asia: Building Growth Zones for Economic Cooperation
This study addresses the issue of sub-regional economic cooperation between Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar and India with particular emphasis on the regions of North East India. It discusses the scope and implications of bringing together the least developed eastern regions of South Asia along with their immediate neighbour, Myanmar, another least developed country within a growth zone designed to harness the collective resources of the area for the purposes of transforming a once backward area into a dynamic and prosperous region. In order to explore the scope for economic cooperation the study examines the structural features of the countries and sub-regions of eastern South Asia and Myanmar and generates a wealth of material about their economies and economic relations. The study then goes on to examine the underlying dynamics of designing a growth zone within this region through exploring the shared resource base and physical features of the region. Information and analysis on the scope for optimising the shared water resource base as well integrating the transport and energy infrastructure are thereby examined in terms of their costs and benefits. The study assesses the political implications within the participating countries as well as in terms of interstate relations in the region and explores the geo-strategic implications associated with the emergence of such a growth zone. The study concludes with a proposed agenda for action designed to prioritize initiatives in the development of such a growth zone. Policy makers at the national level and within multilateral agencies committed to promoting regional and sub-regional cooperation in South and South East Asia should be particularly benefited by this study.
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