South Asia’s Strength

koreaIndia is seeking to utilize the economic and geographic features of the South East region to enhance its inhabitants’ quality of life. This demographic is one of the most highly populated in the world. As such, according to Sumitra Mahajan (Speaker of the Lok Sabha), it has tremendous growth potential. Yet at the same time, she understands it has to deal with “challenges in realizing our goals.” In addition, big picture goals of sustainable development are very much connected to matters of “regional connectivity and regional cooperation.” Since Parliaments are representative bodies, they too have to take a principal position in the implementation of sustainable development targets.

This sentiment was echoed by Mohammad Ishaq Dar, Minister Senator. He said that South Asia and Pakistan’s future path for economic expansion will require the deep involvement of “all the SAARC states.” The connectivity gap (involving transportation and infrastructure matters) will have to be greatly reduced. Plus, with the operation of the China-Pakistan Economic Corridor (CPEC), the entire South Region will benefit, due to the connection that will be made to Europe, the central Asian states, and beyond. Other noteworthy initiatives for this development include: the Turkmenistan-Afghanistan-Pakistan-India gas pipeline project, the CPEC, the CASA-1000 (Central Asia South Asia Electricity Transmission and Trade Project) and AIIB (Asian Infrastructure Investment Bank).

Thanks to the efforts of the Pakistan Muslim League (Nawaz) Government, the budget deficit dropped from 8.8 percent to 4.3 percent, engineering a 33 percent hike in tax growth within two years. It also stimulated foreign exchange reserves up to $21 billion, while the tax to GDP ratio escalated to 11 percent (a jump of 2. 5 percent) when the government began in office.

Collaboration between the national parliaments is crucial for advancing a poverty-free South Asia in pursuance of achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), Speakers of South Asian countries said yesterday at a summit in the city.

Ultimately if South Asia is to thrive, experts seem to agree on one thing: the importance of “regional cooperation,” which was also a sentiment repeated by speaker of the Bhutan national assembly Tshogdu, Jigme Zangpo. He added that: “We need to redefine and rejuvenate our cooperation for a happy South Asia with 1.7 billion people.”

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