South Asian countries will have to move forward together for the overall development of the region, experts said
- Intra-regional communication at a new low in South Asia
- Self-imposed restrictions of countries hurting regional progress
- More regional connectivity required
- Saarc needs to be revived
China has made its presence most visible to the world among Asian countries.
However, the development of South Asian countries has remained stuck due to their self-imposed restrictions.
South Asian countries will have to move forward together for overall development of the region.
Experts from different countries made the comments at the webinar "In the shadow of the Dragon: Globalization and Fractured Future of South Asia" organised by the Centre for Governance Studies (CGS) on Sunday.
"The region had the connected history of the evolution of civilisation for 5,000 years but had a fragmented presence and fractured future," Associate Professor of History and Classical Studies at McGill University and also External Fellow at the CGS Dr Subho Basu said in his keynote speech.
"The future of South Asia would be determined by its interaction with China. And it would be a critical contest between elephant and dragon whereby both elephant and dragon would be dragged down by wider globalising forces."
Dr Subho also said, "China has created a market for its products in the world, especially in Asia."
Increasing its connectivity with other countries, the country is also working on various megaprojects around the world.
However, such a connection is absent among South Asian countries. So some countries are moving forward while the others are lagging, Dr Subho pointed out.
During the discussion, the speakers also said that intra-regional communication is at a new low now in South Asia.
So they urged reviving the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) as it is almost dead now.
The speakers said, "We need to have more connectivity between the countries of our region."
South Asian countries are doing different things for their development, but the most important thing is to get involved with each other.
Success will come only if everyone works together by increasing connectivity among themselves, the speakers said.
They also said that it is necessary to move forward not only regionally but also considering the global situation.
South Asian countries must first understand where the region is heading.
They should further enhance political and economic harmony among themselves, the panellists said.
Distinguished Professor of Political Science at Illinois State University Dr Ali Riaz, Professor and former chairperson of the Centre for South Asian Studies Dr Sanjay K Bhardwaj, the Nepal Institute for International Cooperation and Engagement Research's Director Dr Pramod Jaiswal, and the Pakistan Institute for Peace Studies' Executive Director Amir Rana also attended the webinar as panellists.