Mistrust among the nations is the core problem hindering regional cooperation in South Asian region, said speakers at a luncheon meeting on Thursday.
They said despite having a number of regional organisations and initiatives to develop regional infrastructure, very little headway was made to promote cooperation because of mutual mistrust.
The luncheon meeting was organised by American Chamber of Commerce in Bangladesh at Ruposhi Bangla hotel in the capital.
‘Mistrust is the core problem hindering regional cooperation. The ADB is organising dialogues among the countries and stakeholders to overcome this problem,’ said ADB country director to Bangladesh, Kazuhiko Higuchi, while speaking as the chief guest.
He said the ADB has nine projects running in Bangladesh worth US$ 816.70 million to promote regional cooperation.
These projects include road and railway development and development of Chittagong port for trade facilitation, he said.
Kazuhiko said the Myanmar recently joined the SASEC programme of ADB to facilitate regional bonding which is a major development.
‘This is a major development as Myanmar joins South Asia with South East Asia,’ he said.
When asked if ADB is going to play any role to facilitate Bangladeshi businesses to enter into Myanmar as three connectivity project to Myanmar is stuck, Kazuhiko said, ‘I think it would be the case for Bangladesh and Myanmar.’
‘Unfortunately there is mistrust among the nations in South Asia region which is a core reason why the potential of regional cooperation is not used in its full capacity,’ AmCham president Aftab-ul-Islam said in his speech.
He said the international lenders like Asian Development Bank and World Bank are busy with their own respective infrastructure projects but those need to put emphasis on this.
‘One part of the region is power hungry while another is rich in resources. We need strong regional cooperation to ensure equal development of the neighbouring nations,’ he said.
-With New Age input