South Asia least economically integrated region: Richard Verma

Calling for improved connectivity in South Asia, US Ambassador to India Richard Verma today said the region is one of the least economically integrated in the world.

At the inaugural plenary of a seminar on Indo-Asia Connectivity for Shared Prosperity, he said unfortunately South Asia today is one of the least economically integrated regions in the world.

“Intra-regional trade as a percentage of total trade in the region has languished between four and five per cent com .

“Whether it’s in trade, energy, water, or people-to-people ties, connectivity is critical to South Asia’s future development,” Verma said.

He was all praise for India’s engagement with its neighbouring countries, saying India’s resolution of territorial disputes with Bangladesh and Burma stands as an example of its commitment to international norms and regional stability.

He, however, pointed out some cross-border threats like disease, human trafficking and drugs, that can often flow easily across states and countries, giving rise to multiple health and security challenges.

The envoy also praised the Indian government for Digital India program which he said is making important progress in expanding broadband access.

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