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To establish a
‘sub-regional economic zone’
within South Asia & South East Asia
with special reference to Bangladesh

 

Geo-politically Bangladesh is in an advantageous position.

  1. It is the ‘Linkage’ between South Asia and South East Asia.
  2. Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, India (10 provinces of north-eastern India), Myanmar (southern) and China (Kunming) constitute a powerful ‘geo-economic zone’.
  3. This ‘geo-economic zone’ is rich in skilled manpower, gas, oil, sweet water resources of Bay of Bengal, forestry, coal, hydro-electricity and other mineral resources etc.
  4. It is not only a geo-economic but a geo-cultural entity as well.
  5. Military-strategy wise this is a door to the Indian Ocean.
  6. Geo-physically this region has occupied a unique place for the last thousand years. Bangladesh with its present position is in the focus and has become an attraction for everybody.
  7. This has the potential to become the centre for South Asian and South East Asian region.
  8. This region may be treated as a 'sub regional economic zone' within the South Asian and South East Asian region. This means keeping the independence and sovereignty of each country this ‘sub-regional economic cooperation’ may be formed.


The Changed World

The cold war is over. The post cold war situation is more complex. If we look around the developmental phases in the last fifteen to twenty years, we will see the evidence of a tremendous socio-economic and political change throughout the world.

In economic field, led by the United States and Great Britain, capitalism has come out of its age-old laissez-faire characteristics to pro-people capitalism, creating welfare states. On the other hand Russia and China have introduced socialist market economy giving impetus to individual initiatives. As a result of the blending of these two, the whole world economy has undergone a semi-revolutionary change in the societal level of all countries. The uncompromising rivalry between these two economies (capitalism and socialism) is now considered as synthesis for a new kind of economic growth, which is affecting – in a positive way – even the backward countries of Asia and Africa. This is termed as globalization.

In the world political scenario – the international balance of power based on geo-politics, geo-economics and military strategy – one supper power (USA) has taken place instead of the two supper powers. USA and USSR At the same time these factors have given birth to some intermediary political as well as economic supper-blocks: China, Iran, Brazil, EU, ASEAN, SAARC and CIS. On regional and sub-regional basis these intermediary supper blocks have amassed a strong, political, economic and military power. Thus, we are witnessing a new kind of political polarization throughout the whole world. This polarization is mainly concerned about controlling the oil energy. It is not surprising that the future confrontation among the nations and blocks will be more on energy front than that of traditional battlefront.

In today’s world, competition for acquiring land or industrial power is already replaced by the supremacy of media and Internet. In near future, this battle of supremacy will be shifted to space supremacy. These shifts presuppose structural changes in national, regional, world governments and their attitudes.

The post second world war political scenario is changing to more cooperative based globalization with positive and negative effects. These positive affects are the unprecedented turn over in trade and commerce throughout the whole world. These affects are also seen in the shifting of intermediary technology as well as production units (line industry and agro based industry) from the economically developed countries to the developing countries. The negative affects, in the form of devaluation of currencies, are felt by some developing countries, thus we see an uneven balance of trade. Even then, we observe a degree of welfare in the lives of common people of the developing countries with the aspirations of further development. As a result, people of every country and every nation are being divided and sub-divided into a kind of social differentiation and stratification. So, we see the formation of corporate bodies consisting of different kinds of professional-occupational people with similar attitude and aspiration.

In the present world, Transport Economy (necessary connectivity) has become the gear of all developments. The South Asian & South East Asian region based of transport economy must be considered as the key to the development of this part of the world.

The world has witnessed different kinds of state hood in different period of history starting from independent principalities (primarily agricultural) to kingships and nation-states. These political formations were the results of political role of the social forces born in the womb of their mother social formations.

Now the nation states along with globalization are giving birth to new social forces in the form of professional-occupational people en mass. So, we see a progressing phase of societal development is the ultimate result of knowledge based activities like IT, Nuclear Science, Genetic engineering, Environmental Science, Robotics, Military Science and Space Science.

These newly formed professional-occupational people has not only emerged as unified social force, but also recognized as major political force (nationally and internationally), superseding the political and geographical boundaries (limitations). This phenomenon in turn envisages new kind of national, regional and world governments.

Bangladesh Case

With the experience of the global changes, Bangladesh is also changing very fast. Hence, a new kind of structuring and restructuring is in the process: new professional-occupational groups are working as social catalyst. This is being demonstrated internally and externally through lifestyle, cultural diversity, and even social unrest. Therefore, a new political structural change is just a matter of time. We need a state mechanism that will absorb the will and the aspiration of the social forces through its representation in the political mechanism.

Geo-politically Bangladesh is in a very advantageous position. It is located at the center of South Asia with its surrounding countries India (ten provinces), Nepal, Bhutan, Myanmar and China have put it into a unique situation to steer up a process of economic advancement that would bring a large economic market within its hold. This potential can be properly and evenly developed for their respective economic and cultural growth by forming a 'sub regional economic zone'. This zone will be the sole linkage between Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, India (ten provinces), Myanmar (southern) and China (Kunming). This 'geo-economic zone' is not only a natural integrated zone but also geophysical and military strategy wise a source for regional empowerment in the world scenario.

First of all, the proposal is to form an eastern 'economic zone' comprised of Nepal, Bhutan, ten provinces of India (Bihar, Orissa, West Bengal, Megalaya, Assam, Tripura, Arunachal, Monipur, Nagaland, Mizoram), Bangladesh, Myanmar (south) and Kunming of China. If this zone comes into existence, a tremendous economic boost up along with political and military balance of power will take place.

In total 4 (four) 'economic zones' can be formed among the countries with Afganisthan, Pakistan, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar and China, calling them western region, northen region, southern region and eastern region.

Further more, the 'sub-regional cooperation' concept based on transport economy, energy, water is extremely important for this proposed region. Problems based on these can have a fair solution through the said regional and sub-regional approach. We have already witnessed some results of these proposals. In July, 2007 during Khaled Zia's premiership agreements for highway road links between Bangladesh and Myanmar were signed. This road ultimately will be linked up with Kunming of China. In January 2010 Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina signed agreements of cooperation between Bangladesh and India. Also in March 2010 Sheikh Hasina's successfull visit to China has linked up Bangladesh and China. In 2009 Sheikh Hasina visited Nepal, Bhutan and signed agreement for road links between Bangladesh-Nepal and Bangladesh Bhutan. In this way only our future economic prospect, poverty alleviation, cultural exchange, integrated developments and prosperity depending on this kind of regional and sub-regional cooperation can be best addressed. At the diplomacy level this cooperation can take place on the basis of give and take exchange strategy among the countries of south Asia and south east Asia. At present, in this aspect, there is a huge imbalance in every sector starting from market to media. For a better trade balance strategy each other can balance each other: as 450 million people live in the proposed 'economic zone'. In this regard, each of these countries will have the same access to all other countries of the region. Cross border transportation can play a vital role in this aspect, which will not only eliminate fear of cross border security but also create a vast job market through transit and cross border trade and investment. Furthermore this will negate necessity of inter border smuggling; this will open the door for economic solvency. Therefore it is highly important to have a sub regional approach into these issues.

Likewise sub-regional northern economic, western economic and southern economic zones can play most important role for the best possible development of south Asia and south east Asia.


For Implementation of
'SUB-REGIONAL ECONOMIC ZONE'

  1. High powered joint parliamentary committee from 6 countries Nepal, Bhutan, India, Bangladesh, China and Myanmar to be formed taking members with equal number from the respective parliament.
  2. Under this joint parliamentary committee the following committees taking expertise from the above mentioned 6 countries:
    1. Committee for Industry and Commerce
    2. Committee for Information Technology (IT).
    3. Committee for Human Resources.
    4. Committee for Sports and Culture.
    5. Committee for Water, Energy and Mineral Resources..
    6. Committee for Inland Water Transport Authority.
    7. Committee for Disaster Management.
    8. Committee for Environment.
  3. Evaluation committee for GDP of 6 countries.
  4. Committee for investment of overseas expatriates of 6 countries.
  5. Committee of coordination for Banking System of 6 countries.
  6. Committee for normalization of currency exchange of 6 countries.
  7. Committee for proper utilization of labor forces of 6 countries.
  8. Committee for research for development of 6 countries.
  9. Committee for normalization of internal communication of 6 countries.
  10. Committee for development of mass communication of 6 countries.


SUB-REGIONAL ECONOMIC COOPERATION ZONES
(NEPAL, BHUTAN, INDIA, BANGLADESH, MYANMAR, CHINA AND AFGHANSISTAN)

Eastern Economic cooperation Zone

Nepal, Bhutan, India (Bihar, Urishya, West Bengal, Megalaya, Assam, Tripura, Arunachal, Monipur, Nagaland, Mizoram), Bangladesh, Myanmar (Southern), Kunming of China will constitute ‘Eastern Economic Zone’.