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Reinvigoration of BIMSTEC and India’s Economic, Strategic and Security Concerns

Suneel Kumar

Millennial Asia, 2020, vol. 11, issue 2, 187-210

Abstract: This article contends that India’s efforts for the reinvigoration of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) are the result of an amalgam of its Act East and Neighbourhood First policies’ objectives. Since 2014, India has been trying to rejuvenate the BIMSTEC to exploit the untapped trade opportunities, promote energy and food security and also boost the development of its North Eastern region by enhancing infrastructural connectivity with South East Asian countries and promoting greater economic integration in the Bay of Bengal region. Its strategic interests and security concerns, especially to build the pressure on Pakistan, counter China’s forays into its strategic backyard and ensure the security of the North Eastern region, have also resurged India’s interests in the revival of BIMSTEC. Like South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), there are some hurdles in the way of BIMSTEC, for instance its image of an India-dominated bloc, India’s bilateral differences with other BIMSTEC countries from South Asia, especially with Bangladesh and Nepal, and bilateral disputes between other member countries, particularly Bangladesh and Myanmar and Thailand and Myanmar.

Keywords: BIMSTEC; SAARC; India; Pakistan; trade opportunities; strategic interests; security concerns (search for similar items in EconPapers)
Date: 2020
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DOI: 10.1177/0976399620925441

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