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Aarti Verma asked: Can BIMSTEC be an alternative to SAARC?

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  • Sampa Kundu replies: Kindly refer to my recent publication, titled, “BIMSTEC: A Desirable Alternative to SAARC and An Extra Feather to India’s Act East Policy”, The Kootneeti, October 12, 2017.

    The commentary basically argues that, “BIMSTEC serves two purposes for India - it makes it easier for New Delhi to share a common regional platform with its neighbours in South Asia (sans Pakistan) and secondly, BIMSTEC also establishes a linkage between South and Southeast Asia. The 20th anniversary of BIMSTEC also coincides with the 25 years of ASEAN-India dialogue relationship.” To explain it further, as regional cooperation under the ambit of SAARC has become difficult, it is only natural for India to enhance relationship with its eastern neighbours and BIMSTEC supports that drive by India. The agenda of BIMSTEC is in sync with other regional/sub-regional organisations like the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM Plus), the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF), etc. Simultaneously, BIMSTEC fits in the agenda of a greater role for India in the Indo-Pacific too.

    Posted on February 23, 2018