Strengthening BBIN connectivity: Market signals for policymaking


The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), now in its 30s, is still virtually a non-starter. While markets in the region have for long projected the need for increased integration, the policy frameworks in South Asia have failed to move in a parallel manner. Meanwhile, attempts at sub-regional connectivity are getting more attention, for example, the BBIN initiative amongst Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal. Once again, the broader agenda of strengthening connectivity in the entire region appears to have been put on the back-burner, as initiatives like BBIN take centrestage. This paper examines how markets in East South Asia are showing signs of readiness for integration, having in place significant demand and supply for goods and services from across the sub-region's borders. It proposes policy reforms aimed at instituting better border management, infrastructure development for easier movement of people and goods, and facilitating the movement of business and labour.

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