We held a regional dialogue on ‘Sambandh: Reconnecting India and the Region’. The dialogue is a part of Brookings India’s Sambandh: Regional Connectivity Initiative. We released the first policy brief from the initiative, ‘Sambandh as Strategy: India’s New Approach to Regional Connectivity.’ This was followed by a panel discussion with experts from India and the neighbourhood on enhancing connectivity in South Asia.
Abstract: For decades, “dis-connectivity” remained the default state of affairs between India and its neighbours, as exemplified by the low share of intra-regional trade and limited physical connectivity infrastructure. However, in recent years, the term ‘connectivity’ has emerged as the newest geostrategic buzzword and is being used in a variety of regional and global contexts. By launching the ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy in 2014, New Delhi has not only recovered but also prioritized connectivity, which for the first time is being widely shared and defined as a cardinal interest across government. What progress has been achieved since then and what challenges lie ahead?
4:00pm: Welcome remarks by Shamika Ravi, Director of Research and Senior Fellow, Brookings India
4:05pm: Presentation on ‘Sambandh as Strategy: India’s New Approach to Regional Connectivity,’ by Constantino Xavier, Fellow, Foreign Policy & Security, Brookings India
4:25pm: Panel Discussion
Anasua Basu Ray Chaudhury, Senior Fellow, ORF-Kolkata Chapter
Constantino Xavier, Fellow, Foreign Policy & Security Studies, Brookings India
Rohan Samarajiva, Founder, LIRNEAsia, Sri Lanka
Swarnim Wagle, Former Vice Chairman, National Planning Commission, Nepal
Tariq Karim, Former High Commissioner of Bangladesh to India
Devirupa Mitra, Deputy Editor and Diplomatic Correspondent, The Wire (Moderator)
5:55pm: Concluding Remarks and Vote of Thanks by Riya Sinha, Research Associate, Brookings India
We look forward to your valuable inputs to this regional dialogue on connectivity, and our new Sambandh Initiative.
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