India’s Recent Infrastructure Development Initiatives: A Comparative Analysis of South and Southeast Asia
Since the early 1990s, the number of Regional Trade Agreements has increased considerably across continents. This is resulting into increasing regional integration with substantial importance being given to cross-border connectivity development. India, a late subscriber of active RTA strategy, is enthusiastically venturing into cross-border connectivity exercises to enhance its trade integration with the neighbouring countries in recent period. Developing cross-border connectivity is currently receiving salience in the regional forums like SAARC, though limited progress has been made so far. In contrast, ASEAN is the only forum in Asia where substantial progress in integration through cross-border infrastructure augmentation has been witnessed. India has recently entered into FTA with ASEAN and is involved in several infrastructure augmentation projects in several ASEAN member countries. Given this background, the current paper seeks to analyze the Indian infrastructure development initiatives in the immediate and Southeastern neighborhood. The discussion covers the SAARC and ASEAN initiatives towards building physical infrastructure, as well as the recent aid for trade initiatives being undertaken in South and Southeast Asia. The paper concludes by drawing the lessons for SAARC members from the ASEAN experience.
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