Published Date: Sep 14, 2012
INDUS WATER TREATY COULD LEAD TO SERIOUS ISSUES
Kalpana Kochar, Chief Economist of the World Bank, said that centre of gravity of global economy is now significantly shifting to Asia and creating a space for Asian nations to benefit from this paradigm shift.
Nagaish Kumar from UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific said that South Asia by building synergies with Asean’s best practices and economic and development modelling can have better gains from the potential of economic development in the region. We need to think of a super-structure that links the markets in these two regions, he observed.
Pradeep Mehta from CUTS International called for placing binding commitments to existing free trade agreements such as Safta. He asked South Asian governments to enhance government-to-government, business-to-business and people-to-people relations for effective implementation of free trade agreements.
Annisul Huq of Bangladesh concluded that growth of regional trade had bleak chances unless the tiresome visa process is relaxed and governments become less conservative to trade.
Khondaker Golam Moazzem of Centre for Policy Dialogue, Bangladesh, stressed that the governments of the South Asian region need to analyse the factors changing the sector both internally and externally.
Dr Saeed Shafqat from FC College, Lahore, said that mistrust between India and Pakistan on Indus Water Treaty could lead to serious issues both at national and international levels.
Divas Basynat from Nepal Development Research Institute stressed that hydrological and geographical context should be given equal importance along with engineering solutions.
Nadeem ul Haque, Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission of Pakistan, stressed the need for adopting changing drivers of economic growth, one of which was to encourage entrepreneurship.
Dr Saman Kelegama from Sri Lanka said South Asia has the highest cost for inter-regional trade as compared to other regions in the world. Three fourth of the SAARC trade potential is not being utilised due to non-tariff barriers in the region, he added.
Sonam Tashi from Ministry of Economic Affairs, Bhutan, stressed the need to increase chances of connecting the decision-making at the highest level if free trade agreements were to be effectively implemented.
Deepti Mahajan from Energy Research Institute (TERI), India, said energy resources are concentrated in one country while capabilities to explore those resources are in other. Hence optimal utilisation of unequally distributed resources is the need of hour, she added.
Dipak Gyawali from Nepal said plural institutions are required to cater multiple sectors within the energy sector.
Sumith Nakandala from Ministry of External Affairs, Sri Lanka, suggested a consortium of scientists to increase food production to overcome alarming food insecurity.
Shakeel Ramay from SDPI said that as food security is a multifaceted issue, it is pertinent to engage sociologists, economists, researchers, anthropologists to address food security issues.
M Syeduzzaman, former finance minister, Bangladesh, proposed South Asian countries to fully support initiatives in agriculture, regional water sharing and improved regional connectivity.
Dr David Orden from USA said there is need to revisit initial goals to match the ever-changing reality of South Asia’s economy.