Shillong Dialogue II

Shillong Dialogue ROUNDTABLE

 

India and Sub Himalayan Eastern Neighbours: Shared Borders, Shared opportunities: “Transforming Geo Spaces to Celebrating Ideas, Skills, and People.”

 

India’s Eastern and North Eastern states along with immediate four eastern neighbors, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, and Myanmar, together comprise a geographically compact region in Eastern South Asia, connecting South and South East Asia. Since time immemorial, peoples, ideas and skills have travelled within the region,given the historical, cultural and commercial ties and also given the natural complimentarities that the plains and the hills have. In the last few decades however, political borders that demarcate the various nation states of the region have impeded this natural and historical flow. So much so that this region has come to be acknowledged widely to be the least integrated in terms of economic coordination and modern physical connectivity.

In more recent times however, emerging regional transport and economic corridors under evolving bilateral agreements, as well as multilateral frameworks such as BBIN and BIMSTEC promiseto provide greater impetus for increasing economic linkages within the region. Also, higher political will for better bilateral and at times, multilateral trade and connectivity ties has created an enabling environment for furthering this agenda.Factors such as climate change concerns and present geopolitics in the region and beyond also emphasise the need for higher integration among thenation states. Given this backdrop, completing and implementing the planned connectivity infrastructure facilitatingcross border flow of goods people and money,sustainable development of border regions, creation of transboundary agriculture value chains, development of special regional trading and tourism loops and hubs at or close to border regions can go a long way in ensuring livelihood of communities on both sides and usher in shared regional prosperity and lead to peace dividends.

The seminar in roundtable format will be a platform to discuss the emerging insights from an ongoing study being conducted by the Asian Confluence in collaboration with the Asia Foundation which focuses on ways and means to connect the border states and regions through interconnectedness of goods, services and people. The study has identified three main pillars on which further discussions, deep-diving and interventions could be explored. They are Tourism, creation of Agri-horti value chains and enabling of sub-regional Trade-Tourism-Transit hubs. The roundtable hopes to share initial insights and ideas on these three pillars so as to invite inputs, critique and suggestions through discussions. The idea is to come up with time-bound action agenda for each pillar and prioritise them based on opportunities, challenges and concerns as identified through discussions and deliberations on actionable for each pillar.

Read Shillong Dialogue Concept Notes