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PacNet #29 – BIMSTEC: Can it connect two-fifths of global poor?

The heads of government of seven countries of South and Southeast Asia – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand – gathered in Naypyidaw, Myanmar in March 2014 for the third BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) summit. Representing one-fifth of global population, nearly two-fifths of global poor and more than half of Asia’s poor, they were deliberating over three key issues of development, connectivity, and economic integration. Though the resource-rich sub-region of BIMSTEC marks the convergence of South, Southeast, and Northeast Asia, it remains disconnected from Asia’s growth story and operates on the margin of Asia’s cooperative and integrative discourse.