Role of Japan in BIMSTEC
The main objective of the paper is to explore the role of Japan in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral and Technical Cooperation (BIMSTEC). The analysis suggests that BIMSTEC-Japan cooperation could made a modest contribution to Asian integration. But this is contingent upon domestic reforms and constructive engagement among the members, and willingness of Japan to take a strong leadership role in the part of Asia which welcomes it. The areas for cooperation range from energy security, tourism and risk management to taking advantage of the demographic complementarities. For Japan, the main benefits will be widening of its economic space, and greater leverage. BIMSTEC includes India, a country with economic potential to provide Japan and other group members with sustained economic opportunities and risk diversification. A more pragmatic mindset that does not regard economic cooperation as a zero-sum game is needed. A perspective of joint efforts to address common problems and challenges is also essential. For this, what happens in-between the BIMSTEC meetings is more crucial than the meetings themselves. Future research should concentrate on how this continuity can be achieved, on outcome oriented sector specific studies.
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