ANI Photo | New venues for regional cooperation needed in South Asia: Report

Despite being at the centre stage of world politics, South Asia is the least interconnected. Various factors undermine any political or non-political dialogue and cooperation between the countries that share borders in this part of the world, according to the South Asia Democratic Forum (SADF) a Brussels-based think tank devoted to South Asia.
On one side there is the United States which has its own benefits including a pro-democracy ecosystem and a strong multilateral security agreement. Countering this is the People’s Republic of China (PRC) with its efforts of taking economic leverage, and advantage of geographical proximity to enlarge its dominance with its Belt and Road Initiative (BRI) to assert and ensure its own interests in the region.
According to SADF its increasingly aggressive steps policies and tactics in the Himalayan regions especially in the deconstructive way are creating challenges and making the possibility of any corporations in the region even more difficult. According to the SADF, numerous observers describe the regional intergovernmental organization South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) as ‘dead’. In consequence, South Asia once more stands at a crossroads. Having this in mind, one needs to ask what the future holds for South Asia.
Going on the economic front each of the South Asian countries has areas that are not developed and remote and the circumstances of these places cannot be changed. Although not all problems are because of external factors. According to SADF, Some problems for regional cooperation are of indigenous origin, or “home-made”. Most remarkable in this context is the phenomenon of the state sponsorship of cross-border terrorism, as a significant instrument in Pakistan’s foreign policy.
Although, in a recent example, a case involving a Chinese company in tax evasion came to light. A Chinese company ‘Conda Art Materials Bangladesh Co. Limited’, subsidiary of Ningbo Conda Art Supplies Group Co Ltd. (China), supposedly imported goods labelled ‘Made in Bangladesh’ from China and evaded huge amounts according to the publication, Bangladesh authorities suspect evasion of more than 28 crore rupees in about 200 consignments publication. It added that further investigation revealed that the company was violating the EPZ (Export Processing Zone) policy which stipulated that only raw materials could be imported. However, the company was importing finished products instead of raw materials and re-exporting the same products to other countries.
In April and May this year, authorities, on suspicion of duty evasion, seized about 10 vans and seven containers loaded with goods which the company apparently imported from China by manipulating and luring some Bangladesh Export Processing Zones Authority (BEPZA) officials.

Back in January, a Chinese company, DG Anti-Fake Company, supplied fake bandrolls (a thin band wrapped around bidis and cigarette packets) leading to fraudulent tax evasion of Rs 250 crore for Bangladesh.
The agency has also been accused of being involved in printing fake Bangladeshi passports, ballot papers, national identity cards, birth registration certificates. Chinese economic involvement in the South Asian region is often accompanied by corruption and crime that Chinese government-affiliated companies habitually use in the region to gain an unfair advantage.
Estimates suggest that China accounts for the largest illicit financial flows related to corrupt business practices by value globally, particularly to developing countries. Meanwhile, between 2011 and 2021, China invested USD 10 billion in infrastructure in Bangladesh but according to some media reports, Beijing had missed fulfilling the promises on several deals signed during President Xi Jinping’s visit to Dhaka in October 2016.

After missing several deadlines, work on Karnaphuli multiple road tunnel project in Bangladesh’s Chittagong district, inaugurated by Chinese President Xi Jinping virtually in 2017, started in 2020.
Being built by China Communication and Construction Company Limited, the 9.3 km long tunnel project would be completed not before 2023, said the Daily Star in its recent report. The Bangladesh government needs to be careful if it wants to avoid the same fate as Sri Lanka, which is struggling with its worst economic crisis due to the huge Chinese loan debt.
According to the SADF all in all, to ensure bridging gaps amongst the countries in and creative development conducive environment. There is a dire need for new platforms of bilateral dialogue and interaction. The powers that do not share boundaries in South Asia must respect that South Asian countries will rise up to the channel in their own respective ways. The deconstructive patterns of politics and politics and policies patterns of the past. And there is an urgent need of forums that put aside all the blame game amongst the political powers. And for democracy nations like India and US as well as other such countries must find a common and strong ground to face China and the issues created by it. (ANI)

This report is filed by ANI news service. TheNewsMill holds no responsibility for this content.

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