- Monday | 25 Nov, 2013
- Abid Qaiyum Suleri, Vaqar Ahmed, Samavia Batool, Muhammad Zeshan
- Contributed Chapter Series
Preface It is now widely acknowledged that a cornerstone of South Asia's future must be its ability to cooperate among each other in tackling the key socio-economic challenges of our time. While diplomatic discussions take place at the highest level - through the thirty year-old initiative, SAARC - there is an important role for Track II processes that complement this and offer platforms for the exchange of knowledge and the generation of ideas. Within this, a lack of Track II engagement in economic policy-rnakinq processes had been recognised as a limiting factor to regional integration in South Asia. As an attempt to remedy this, the South Asia Economic Summit (SAES) was launched in 2008, initiated by a regionally-based group of five think-tanks, namely, the Institute for Policy Studies (IPS) in Sri Lanka, the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) in India, the South Asia Watch on Trade, Economics and Environment (SAWTEE) in Nepal, the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD) in Bangladesh, and the Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI) in Pakistan. At each Summit, issues concerning key growth opportunities and challenges experienced by the economies of South Asia constitute the central focus. In this sense, it follows the example of the World Economic Forum held annually in Davos, albeit at a regional rather than a global level. Nearly seven years since the first Summit, the SAES is now seen as an important regional platform for dialogue and debate in this region, and is recognised as the premier forum for the region's thought leaders to tackling the critical socio-economic issues, develop new insights, and generate fresh ideas on the way forward.