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Economic Integration between South Asia and East Asia: A Perception Survey of Asian Opinion Leaders

By Dr Pradumna B Rana
New Delhi


ASEAN – India Seminar Series
Seminar on
ASEAN – India Strategic Partnership
29 January 2014
15.00 – 16.30 hrs. 
RIS Conference Hall
India Habitat Centre, Zone 4B, Lodi Road, New Delhi 110003


In Chair Amb. Sanjay Singh, Former Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India
Introduction Dr. Prabir De, Senior Fellow, RIS, and Coordinator, ASEAN-India Centre (AIC) at RIS
Opening Remarks Amb. Shyam Saran, Chairman, RIS and National Security Advisory Board (NSAB)
Chairperson’s Remarks Amb. Sanjay Singh, Former Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India
Presentation Dr. Pradumna B. Rana, S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS), Nanyang Technological University (NTU), Singapore  – Economic Integration between South Asia 


Economic Integration between South Asia and East Asia:
A Perception Survey of Asian Opinion Leaders
Pradumna B Rana

Economic integration which was deepening among the East Asian countries (ASEAN and ASEAN+3) is now starting to broaden and cover the South Asian region as well. We are starting to witness the emergence of Pan-Asian integration. What are the benefits and costs of South Asia/East Asia (SA/EA) integration? What are the respective roles of market-led vs regional cooperation policies? Could SA/EA integration be an example of “open” regionalism? What are the policies that SA should adopt under their Look East Policies II to link themselves with production networks in EA? What is the role of connectivity? What are the factors that have led to the revival of land connectivity or old South-western Silk Road in Asia? Should efforts to promote ASEAN-India connectivity be supported? Should the membership of East Asian institutions be expanded to cover South Asian countries or should South Asia establish its own institutions? In particular, should India be invited to join the various ASEAN+3 initiatives for financial cooperation? Should South Asian countries (other than India) be invited to join the negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership? Can SA/EA integration re-invigorate economic integration in South Asia? This paper assesses the views of South Asian and East Asian opinion leaders through a perception survey. The opinion leaders in both regions generally feel positively about SA/EA integration and they feel that it could revive economic integration in South Asia. They also feel that South Asian countries should be given a role in various East Asian initiatives.

This presentation is based on a chapter of the forthcoming co-authored book on Re-invigorating South Asia: Looking Within, Looking East, and Looking West. This research is supported by the Academic Research Fund of the NTU supported by the Ministry of Education, Singapore.


Profile of the Speakers
Pradumna B. Rana

Dr. Pradumna B. Rana is Associate Professor at the S. Rajaratnam School of International Studies (RSIS) of the Nanyang Technological University (NTU). He is also the Coordinator of the Master of Science in International Political Economy programme and the Coordinator of Economic Multilateralism and Regionalism Studies at RSIS’s Centre for Multilateralism Studies. Prior to this, he worked for 25 years at the Asian Development Bank. His last appointment at the ADB was Senior Director of the Office of Regional Economic Integration which spearheads the ADB’s support for Asian economic integration. He obtained his PhD from Vanderbilt University where he was a Fulbright Scholar and a Masters in Economics from Michigan State University and Tribhuvan University. He has authored/edited 15 books, and published over 50 articles in peer-reviewed international academic journals. Most recently, he edited a book entitled The Renaissance of Asia: Evolving Economic Relations between South Asia and East Asia (World Scientific Publishers) and co-authored a book on South Asia: Rising to the Challenge of Globalization (World Scientific Publishers). He also co-edited books on Pan-Asian Integration: Linking East and South Asia (Palgrave Macmillan) and National Strategies for Regional Integration: South and East Asian Case Studies (Anthem Press, UK).

Amita Batra

Professor (Dr.) Amita Batra is Professor of Economics in the Centre for South Asian Studies, School of International Studies, Jawaharlal Nehru University (JNU), New Delhi. Prof. Batra has been the first holder of the Professorial Chair (ICCR) in Contemporary Indian Studies at the Centre for South Asian Studies & Edinburgh-India Institute, University of Edinburgh during January – May 2013. In 2008, Prof. Batra was a visiting professor at the Indian Institute of Management (IIM)-Ahmedabad where she taught a course on ‘Global Economic and Political Environment’. She has worked extensively in the area of regional economic and financial integration with a special focus on Asia and her most recent Book on the subject is titled ‘Regional Economic Integration in South Asia: trapped in Conflict?’ (London: Routledge, 2013).  She also has to her credit two other books – Preferential Trading Agreements in Asia: Towards an Asian Economic Community (ed., 2008) and India and the Asian Corridor (Co-authored, 2007) and several research papers published in national and international refereed and other journals, books etc. Dr. Batra is a M.A., M.Phil., Ph. D. in Economics from the Delhi School of Economics, University of Delhi, India.