Economic integration, which was deepening among the East Asian countries, is now broadening to cover the South Asian region as well. While we are starting to witness the emergence of Pan-Asian integration, a few distinct and yet related questions arise. What are the benefits and costs of South Asia and East Asia (SA-EA) integration? What are the respective roles of market-led vs. regional cooperation policies? Could the integration of the two be an example of “open” regionalism? What are the policies that South Asian countries should adopt under their “Look East” polices to link themselves to production networks in East Asia? What is the role of infrastructure and 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 at an appropriate level? In particular, should India be invited to join the various ASEAN+3 initiatives? Should South Asian countries (other than India) be invited to join the negotiations for the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP)? Can the integration of the two regions re-invigorate economic integration in South Asia? This paper assesses the views of South Asian and East Asian opinion leaders through a perception survey conducted in 2013. 390 respondents from academia, business, and various government offices participated in the survey. In general, the opinion leaders in both regions generally feel positive about the integration of the two regions 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.
About the Authors
Dr Pradumna B. Rana is an 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 the Economic Multilateralism and Regionalism Studies at RSIS’ 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 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.
Dr Wai-Mun Chia obtained her Bachelor’s degree in Economics from the University of London with First Class Honors in 1996. She was then awarded the Datuk Paduka Hajjah Saleha Ali Academic Outstanding Award for her exceptional academic performance at international level in 1997. In 1998, with the support of the London School of Economics (LSE) Scholarship, she pursued her Master’s degree at LSE. In 2006, she graduated with a PhD degree from NTU. She is currently assistant professor at the Division of Economics, NTU. Prior to joining NTU, she was an industry analyst at the Federation of Malaysian Manufacturers. Her current research interests are international macroeconomics, economic integration in East Asia and cost-benefit analysis. She is an associate editor to the Singapore Economic Review and a research consultant to the ASEAN Secretariat. She has published widely in internationally reputable journals such as Economic Record and Journal of Economic Dynamics and Control.
Country and Region Studies / East Asia and Asia Pacific / International Political Economy / Regionalism and Multilateralism / South Asia / Southeast Asia and ASEAN / Working Papers
Last updated on 01/10/2015