External Affairs

US Hopes Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor Will Improve Connectivity in South Asia: US Official

Nisha Baswal. Credit: Twitter

Nisha Baswal. Credit: Twitter

Washington: Hailing the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor, a top Obama administration official has said that it will provide better economic connectivity and will do wonders for the countries of South Asia.

“Through an initiative we call the Indo-Pacific Economic Corridor, or IPEC, we’re helping create new energy linkages, open up trade and transport corridors, streamline customs procedures and border crossings and connect entrepreneurs and businesses throughout South Asia and beyond,” the Assistant Secretary of State for South and Central Asia, Nisha Desai Biswal, said.

In her address to the Indian Ocean Conference 2016 in Singapore last week by the India Foundation, Biswal said the US supports greater economic connectivity in the Indian Ocean region.

“We know what better economic connectivity can do for the countries of South Asia and the entire Indo-Pacific. And the United States also has a stake in the region’s success – not only because we seek to strengthen our business ties, whether it’s trade in consumer goods, financial services, technology, energy, or education – but also because we know that prosperity is linked to security and stability,” she said.

“This is the basis behind President Obama’s rebalance to Asia and the Joint Strategic Vision that the United States and India put forward last year, showing that our leaders recognise how much more can be accomplished when we work in partnership,” she said according to the transcripts released by the State Department.

Greater connectivity, she said, requires infrastructure and infrastructure requires investment worth $2.

“We see ourselves as a convener and a partner. We can help identify projects that have multiplier effects, bring all stakeholders to the table, support and catalyse the early stages of development, and provide the necessary technical support to make sure it gets done right,” Biswal said.

IPEC, she asserted, is working to build a vision of a connected Indo-Pacific, of a region that is at the epicentre of global trade and commerce, a region that has lifted hundreds of millions of people out of poverty and drives economic growth in Asia, Africa and the Americas.

Bangladesh has been a willing partner and together with India has peacefully resolved age-old land and maritime border disputes, which will allow for greater investment and the freer, faster and cheaper movement of goods, services and people, she observed.

Burma’s democratic transition has created new opportunities for investment and it is working with Bangladesh and India to open up trade corridors into Southeast Asia, she added.