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3) When it comes to regional cooperation, India’s focus has shifted from SAARC to BIMSTEC. Discuss.(250 words)

Topic– India and its neighbourhood relations

3) When it comes to regional cooperation, India’s focus has shifted from SAARC to BIMSTEC. Discuss.(250 words)

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Why this question

In light of the recent summit of BIMSTEC to be conducted in Kathmandu, the grouping has gained significance off late. Ever since, the hopes of a regional partnership via SAARC failed, India has been focussing on BIMSTEC. The article discusses these issues, and identifies the strength, opportunities, weaknesses etc in pursuing a partnership with BIMSTEC. Hence this question.

Key demand of the question

The question expects us to explain that why India has started focussing more on BIMSTEC. Here India’s issues with Saarc and what led India to pursue closer ties with BIMSTEC needs to be brought out. Thereafter, we need to identify the SWOT vis a vis BIMSTEC and discuss the way forward for deepening cooperation with BIMSTEC.

Directive word

Discuss – This is an all-encompassing directive – you have to debate on paper by going through the details of the issues concerned by examining each one of them. You have to give reasons for both for and against arguments.

Structure of the answer

Introduction – Mention about the recent BIMSTEC summit in Kathmandu and explain a little about BIMSTEC – members, dynamics etc

Body

  • Discuss why SAARC is no longer a focus area and why BIMSTEC is being focussed upon.
  • Discuss the importance of BIMSTEC for India and highlight how it fits into one of the overarching policies of India foreign policy ie Act East policy. Highlight the other focus areas of BIMSTEC including a free trade agreement, poverty alleviation, tourism, energy and climate change, and even counterterrorism and disaster management.
  • Discuss the status of regional cooperation and highlight the threats that need to be overcome to deepen regional partnership with BIMSTEC.

Conclusion – Discuss the relevance of BIMSTEC vis a vis SAARC and highlight how India should go about deepening regional integration with BIMSTEC so that the mistakes of SAARC are avoided.