Regional Integration and India’s Role

Asian Connectivity

The idea of “connectivity” appears to be the flavour of the season in Indian foreign policy. Earlier this month, the Ministry of External Affairs facilitated a high profile conference on the theme of “Asian Connectivity” (Raisina Dialogue, 1–3 March 2016). The minister of external affairs as well as the foreign secretary spoke about India’s efforts at fostering connectivity in South Asia and beyond. More recently, both reiterated their points about connectivity and regional integration at the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) ministerial meeting held in Nepal (14–17 March 2016).

The background to this fresh emphasis on connectivity is, of course, the grand Chinese plan for the construction of overland and maritime networks linking various parts of Asia and Europe, the One Belt One Road (OBOR) plan. The foreign secretary observed that

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