South Asia

Making India and South Asia an Economic Hub

The Asian reality is characterised by developmental asymmetries across countries because of its huge size and wide range of countries with unique cultures and society. Asia’s success in agriculture,manufacturing, services, innovation and financial sectors is spread across different countries in different sub-regions, providing for tremendous complementarities waiting to be unlocked and tapped.Also, Asia is considered to be the new source of final demand, especially expected to be reinforced by pan-Asian economic integration including trade in goods, trade in services, FDI, technology etc.

India’s economic performance is considered to be one of the best across economies in the world, evenduring the times of global economic crisis of the recent times. India has developed capabilities and its economic characteristics as observed in recent years make India an important economic entity in any regional and geographical configuration of economic integration. India’s recent economic dynamism including its future prospects as the fastest growing economy highlighted by various credible projections along with the emphasis of Indian policy making on the Make in India initiative, suggests that India can emerge as an economic hub for integrating East Asia, ASEAN on one hand with SouthAsia, Central Asia, West Asia on the other.

The study against this backdrop, focuses on Regional Value Chains especially in East Asia and South-East Asia along with the empirical analysis of determinants of RVCs formation and delves on the emergence of Intra-industry trade in sustaining the regional value chains formation. The importance of physical infrastructure in connecting the sub-regions of Asia is brought out along with highlighting some of the sectoral advantages that India offers in knowledge-intensive and hi-tech sectors. A special focus if given to trade in services. Some of the conclusions are drawn by including skill complementarities across regions and R&D activities in India. The study aims at bringing out policy recommendations for making India and South Asia an economic hub connecting it with Eurasia, Central Asia on one hand and South-east Asia, East Asia and Oceania on the other. 


Trade and Economic Integration in South Asia: For Peace-creating Prosperity

The twin challenges in South Asia are achieving peace and prosperity. While both reinforce each other and therefore have a dual causality, the study argues in favour of strengthened trade and economic integration initiatives for creating prosperity that, in turn, would create peace in the region. This happens through enhanced economic activity via trade in goods, trade in services and investment, that in the ultimate analysis lead to employment generation as a result of effective economic integration. In this endeavour, trade becomes peace-creating by stepping up the profiles of all the sectors, viz. agriculture, industry and services.

Social Sector Development in South Asia through Trade in Services

The broad contours of the study include analyzing and exploring linkages between social sector and trade to facilitate social sector development in South Asia. The study is based on the facts that health and education are two major spheres of the social sector and developing the health and education sectors of any country could be stepped up through intra-regional trade in services. In this context, the study aims at creating public discourse for operationalization of the SATIS.

Towards 'Make in South Asia'

One of the most important ways in which several of the common developmental challenges in South Asia could be addressed is by focusing onmanufacturing. In the new context, manufacturing becomes key to creating Regional Value Chains (RVCs) in South Asia along with its potential to serveas the engine of growth.
For this to happen, the study developsa theoretical canvass emphasizing the need to adopt an integrated approach towards tradein goods, trade in services and investment in a regional framework. In this context, rules of origin within the realm of trade in goods can serve as important instruments for ensuring manufacturing and local value addition besides achieving developmental outcomes like employment generation in all factorsof production. Insights from the status of the manufacturing sector in India,followed by an analysis of trade in manufactured products, are further used to empirically identify product-country-wise possibilities for creating RVCs.To address some of the constraints to these processes the study intends to make some policy-suggestions towards the Make in South Asia initiative by building on an earlier study on the same theme.