Regional Connectivity

Though this reticular Issue has somehow reduced the limelight of proposed “Aslant Highway; but It Is something that represents even bigger prospect for Bangladesh as the road connecting 23 countries through proposed Asian Highway network. The proposed deep sea port is also opening up the prospect of connectivity as it might be accessible for whole region. Neighboring countries like Sardinia has created a deep sea port in recent times and so far it has been a success story. That might prompt Bangladesh to push this plan forward. By utilizing these opportunity eloquently Bangladesh might turn Into a hub of connectivity.
But It’s a country that Is suffering to construct necessary infrastructure for the internal demand. In this situation if given access of connectivity then it will be worse and might cause a negative impact. So, the necessary infrastructure should be build before giving any such access. What is the ultimate benefit of connectivity? How one can resolve the issue of Sovereignty vs. Connectivity? Will the extended connectivity result In an expansion of drug trafficking and Illegal trade? These are some questions which ultimately come Into play. Many uses this Issues as an argument against connectivity.
It is unlikely to enjoy benefit only through a policy. Especially when it comes about the question of issues like this one got to take all the aspects into consideration. Connectivity and development In this era of globalization the world is more connected then before. Day by day this connectivity is increasing more and more. Now a day it’s quite impossible for the states to take alienated policy. Today we see ideology is playing trivial role then It played before. Today International system Is moving on the three fast highways of globalization, liberalizing and vaporization In a unpopular world.

Economic development seems to be the common goal of every nation. This commonality has made it possible for the states to become physically connected through the flow of – people and trade. That’s why the idea of “interconnected world” is getting more and more voice. Even States that have traditionally been sovereignty sensitive, at least in terms of Integrating themselves through roads, today, are trying to negotiate multilateral economic arrangements that Include transit and transportation across their national boundaries But this interconnectivity is not purely interconnected.
As it’s the connectivity driven by interest so countries that have common interests or the egging which represents more opportunity are the one to be connected or willing to establish connectivity. As a result regional connectivity is becoming more fashionable. E is a perfect example. Following the success of E regional organizations and regional connectivity Is getting stronger. Also countries are more higher investment in public infrastructure brings invariably in its wake economic prosperity and improved quality of life.
It’s also used as a remedy of eradicating inequality which has emerged as a threat of the present time. The improved transport facilities impact through faster mobility of labor, materials, and gods, in hat way reducing transport costs as well as saving time for further engagements. Transport cost is an important determinant of competitiveness, making an integrated and capable transport networks an essential element of the enabling environment for economic integration at any level.
The provision of physical infrastructure in the form of an integrated transport network is essential, but not a major condition in itself for efficient and effective international movement. It is necessary to have adequate facilitation measures to address all the non-physical barriers so that goods, icicles and people can move freely across international borders. Bangladesh prospect as a hub of connectivity: Location and gee-spatial reality: Bangladesh is a country which is virtually “India locked”. So, the geographical point of view it apparently seems to be a disadvantage for her.
But it has many geographical advantages. The access of Bay of Bengal , and through to the wider open seas and to the sea routes towards the strategically important regions such as East and Southeast Asia, on the one hand , and West Asia and the Middle East on the other. This geographical and location can be utilized by Bangladesh for her own benefit. That’s the reason why a deep sea port or the modernization of Chitchatting sea port can have a better prospect it can be both economically beneficiary and strategically an important point. Nepal, Bhutan and Afghanistan are landlocked countries in this region.
Bangladesh can benefit tremendously through opening up transit and great opportunities for crossing from east to west and giving the land-locked neighbors access to the sea. But it’s not given proper attention like the issue related transit. As said earlier Bangladesh is virtually an “India locked” country; so it’s almost impossible o improve connectivity excluding India. It has massive territorial depth and the biggest democratic country. India over the years has made massive progress and it’s the regional super power. So, when we talk about the country that comes first is India.
But India has some vulnerability that can be used in favor of Bangladesh. Bangladesh occupies an important strategic position for India. Slinger Corridor is the only access of the North Eastern state which separates Nepal from Bangladesh only by a few miles. During Indo-China war this situation became more eminent. This vulnerability is still present. Right now, anything produced in that region can’t be marketed in the rest of India, due to the distance from port (Kola). From past decade, India is becoming more dependent on foreign and private investments in growth picture.
But, no company will want to invest in this remote corner of the Northeast, because of the logistical problems of Sevens Sisters linking in with the rest of India. So the only real economic future of Northeast lies in reopening its route through Bangladesh to its West and with Manner and South-East Asia to the East. For additional benefit, if they are allowed to use a Bangladesh port, the export oriented business can also come up in this region. The region is rich in energy resources, like natural gas and hydro-electricity.
The economic progress in this region recent times has increased greatly and has become a real headache for the Indian government. It’s now creating a threat for national integrity. It’s obvious that the insurgency is not going to stop until a drastic economic development take place. But Indian government is finding it hard without the access of Bangladesh. Many in India perceived Bangladesh as an “economic bridge” between Indian’s north-eastern states and the rest of the country. For India, it makes extremely good economic sense to be able to use a corridor to its northeastern states.
It would spare them constructing a long and tortuous road through hostile territory, infested with insurgents of many hues. It had been estimated – in the ‘ass – that construction of new tracks would cost RSI. 2 core per kilometer. It would cost many times more that amount now. For India, access through Bangladesh makes extremely good economic sense to be able to use a corridor to its northeastern states. India has to across Kim to passage its goods & passengers from its mainland to its north-eastern dates, which is expensive & time consuming as well as inefficient in economic sense.
If Bangladesh allows transit, India will require to across only km to complete same job. The Chitchatting port can become a modern busy port like Singapore serving the SCARS countries and even China. Huge foreign investment may be attracted to Bangladesh and finally a throbbing service sector like banks, insurance, hotels, rest houses, petrol pumps etc. May develop around the Tarn’s continental roads and railways. There is an estimate of direct economic gain from transit fees. It ranges from 500 core take to 4,666 core take. The last but not the least, is the mutual transit.
Bangladesh, in return, will get a much shorter route to China, which already is its second largest trading partner. Unfortunately, most of the trading nowadays takes place through sea-route. The cost of import increases, as well as Bangladesh goods loose competitiveness in Chinese market. If Bangladesh wants to access South Chinese underdeveloped market, they must go through India. This was a point of concern for the Chinese delegates during Gumming initiative in 1999, an initiative to link Chinese province of Yuan with Seven Sisters of India, Manner, Thailand and Bangladesh.
Better Co-operations for Connectivity South Asia inherited an integrated transport infrastructure from the British. This was fractured not only by the partition of India but by its political aftermath. The transport network still continue to remain fragmented due to various historical, political and economic reasons which needs to be rebuilt within the context of greater political harmony in South Asia. The transport system of the main land countries of South Asia has developed only in a national context with little consideration given to cross border issues of compatibility, uniformity of standards in infrastructure and equipment design.
It is felt that for socio-economic development if South Sais’s intra-regional trade is to grow rapidly, among others, this will require integration of the transport infrastructure of the region. This calls for cooperation in the strengthening of transportation, transit and connectivity across the region, including harmonistic of standards and simplification of customs procedures and other similar trade facilitation initiatives to minimize the non-physical trade barriers in support of investment in the transport infrastructure.
The decisions of Islamabad SCARS operation in a number of areas including strengthening transport, transit and communication links/connectivity across the region. Recognizing the importance of transport integration in South Asia, SCARS initiated the SCARS Regional Multimode Transport Study (SORTS) with the main objective of enhancing multi-modal transport connectivity among SCARS member states, so as to promote intra-regional trade. Since then the issue of connectivity has been the highlighting issue in every SCARS summit.
Though the countries of this region have many things in common and there re better prospect of development through the process of connectivity; but it’s the most poorly connected part of the world. For example – Bangladesh products constituted only 0. 5 percent (approximately) of total Indian imports. Indian’s informal and formal exports to Bangladesh stand at around $5 billion dollars while Bangladesh exports are about $ 358 million during the financial year of 2007-08. This shows the poor condition of connectivity.
Also the imbalanced situation is eminent of trade between the small country (Bangladesh) and big country (India). As aid earlier Bangladesh has a territorial advantage and India is pushing hard for the access of transport from mainland India to North-East India. So, Bangladesh can use this opportunity to gain economical balance and also to resolve her unresolved issues. One of the main obstacles for regional connectivity is the hostile relation between India and Pakistan. This hostility has made the SCARS ineffective. They are the two big powers in this region.
Both of them have nuclear weapon and plays important role in the world politics. Especially India is moving fast as a regional power and also as a world power. So no progress can be made without the improvement of these two nations. Though over the years little progress has been made, but we see a kind of rational approaches from both the parties in recent time. For example-After the recent Bomb attack in Bombay Indian unlike the previous incident did not blame Pakistan took cautious attitude . Pakistan on the other hand immediately after the attack expressed deep sympathy about the incident.
Both the parties have expressed hope about continuing the ongoing peace process. This shows that they are serious about the issue and if in the future these co-operative environment progress then surely connectivity will increase in this region. Trading in transport connectivity with neighboring countries could reduce trade deficit. It is crucial to understand clearly that these transport connectivity will have no market elsewhere outside this sub-region and that these opportunities of trading in transport services may not continue long.
It is also important for the sub-regional countries to recognize that no country other than Bangladesh can provide these transport connectivity and services. Issues to tackle: Politics of regional connectivity Though it’s an issue which is a part of foreign policy, closely interlinked with economic policy, but political relation can’t be separated from economic and foreign relation. It has been seen that in most case progression has been from close political relations to the deepening of economic relations.
Political relationships that are not characterized by mistrust or suspicion allow first steps in economic relationship which would then expand and generate vigorous inter-state economic activities. But unfortunately this has not been the case with us. Our political culture is marked by tit India exploited by both the political parties as a political agenda. We see a lack of proper planning or commitment on the question of connectivity. All the major aspects such as-Asian Highway, Transit with china or even the Deep sea port there is clear distinction among the political parties and also among the people.
Security The issue of security is closely linked with the issue of connectivity. The fear that connectivity will increase security threat is not without basic. The north eastern region of India is a war prone area. Here the most powerful Indian forces are failing to maintain stable situation. The threat of ALFA and Moist insurgency can poise real problem for us. Also in the region of Manner there are rebel forces fighting against the Junta government. Also the religious extremist groups may misuse the connectivity. So, the security threat should be taken into consideration.
Lack of infrastructure The road and ports of Bangladesh could get overcrowded, thus resulting in poor efficiency in domestic industries. Keeping in view the benefits, it seems the above mentioned risks are too small, from economic perspective. But, a country is not made up of its economy only; it has its political, ideological and popular faces also. To sum up the whole condition, Bangladesh currently does not allow grater connectivity because of non-economic reasons. Lack of co-operation from Big Brother As we all know India at present stage has huge economic advantage with all the countries of this region.
The reason that she is pushing hard for transit is mainly for her own stake. India doesn’t want to allow Bangladesh to have land route with Nepal and Bhutan which is purely for trade purpose, India shows the excuse that it goes against its territorial integrity, using the same logic Bangladesh cannot allow transit. The proposed Asian Highway route provides transit rights to India through Bangladesh because both the entry and exit are with India from Bangladesh. Bangladesh government is naturally concerned about it without reciprocal transit rights from India.
It seems that this is a misplaced concern in view of the fact that at the Dacha SCARS Summit, Indian’s Prime Minister made it clear that India was agreeable to provide transit rights to SCARS countries. But India is not interested to progress over the issue. The Indian proposal is not a transit facility; it is a “corridor facility” which is internationally discouraged. As said earlier Bangladesh already has huge trade deficit with India. So allowing India the access on bilateral basic has little chance through which we can get benefited.
There are many unresolved issues on which India over the years has shown little interest. The worst act was the Freak barrage. Bandstand’s trust in India was not honored properly. We are suffering from less supply of Ganges water than committed. BBS are killing Bangladesh without adequate reasons. Maritime boundaries need to be finalized, issues like Tailgate, demarcation of 6. Skims borders, stoppage of push-in, and Bangladesh-Nepal ND Bangladesh-Bhutan corridors can be solved without much difficulty.
But in the process of connectivity mutual co-operation and trust is the key and it should be formulated through a win-win situation. Connectivity should be implemented in such a way so that all the parties can get the benefit. Conclusion: “Connectivity is the key’ a popular dialogue of the present time. Day by day world is getting smaller through the advancement of globalization and technological connectivity. Singapore is a perfect example of connectivity and progress. “Connectivity’ has worked as the key for them as key in real sense. The success story of E.
IS is the perfect example of regional connectivity. This connectivity has been a trademark for the European countries. South-Asia is one of the poorest regions of the world. Being the part of world’s most poorly connected region, one can obviously say that there are prospects for development through connectivity. As Bangladesh has certain benefits and strategically constitutes an important position so the connectivity can provide greater opportunity for us. But creation of a win-win situation is what that can ensure better progress and ensures equal opportunity for all countries.

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