Published Date: Apr 2, 2018
New politico-economic realignments in South Asia call for economic preferences: Experts
In this age of globalization, where countries move toward connectivity and regionalization, South Asia, being the least integrated region, is experiencing a politico-economic realignment creating new sub-regional approaches with connectivity among China, Pakistan, Russia, Iran, Afghanistan and Central Asia. The decades’ old security led paradigm is being replaced by a pragmatic transition towards economic proximity. Pakistan’s foreign policy needs to focus more on economic diplomacy and less on security.
This was the crux of the deliberations at a seminar on “New Politico-Economic Geography of South Asia”, organized by Sustainable Development Policy Institute (SDPI), here on Monday.
Speaking on the occasion, Haroon Sharif, Former Regional Economic Advisor, the World Bank and senior fellow at the Cambridge University said South Asia region has changed very clearly in term of economic geography, where new alliances and connectivity is witnessed in terms of politico-economic realignments. “Economic security will play a vital role in defining the South Asia regional connectivity and re-alignment”, he said, adding that Pakistan needs to restructure its economic policy and build a knowledge economy by engaging universities and Think Tanks such as SDPI.
“There should be an end to the denial of the relationship between two nuclear rivals in the region by opening up borders for wider socio-economic benefits for the people of South Asia”, Haroon suggested. He said both India and Pakistan should come forward to boost bilateral trade and to invest in each other’s economies. The real potential of CPEC has yet to be envisaged, as it is not mere connectivity route. If the true potential was not capitalized, Pakistan will be a loser. Pakistan needs to have an eligible, enable and empowered economic team to revamp and restructure the economy, he added.
Dr. Abid Qayyum Suleri, Executive Director, SDPI said there is a realization in power corridors that economic security and political stability go hand in hand. “There is a need to build a consensus among all stakeholders on the charter of the economy. We need thought leaders who can discuss issues and find a vibrant way out”, he added.
Zahid Hussain, Senior Analyst on the occasion said South Asia is the least connected region of the world, despite having a huge population. He said, “Security centric policies were among major factors behind being the least connected region.” He called for a people-centric policy instead of a security-centric policy.
“Political stability is a pre-requisite for economic security and stability”, he said, adding that the current political instability, as a result of Panama Verdict, and its economic consequences have shown this very relationship.