Call for South Asian regional integration to address climate change, energy dependency

NL Today

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Kathmandu: Vice-president of Nepal India Chamber of Commerce and Industries (NICCI) has called for regional integration in South Asia so that countries in the region can address the common challenges of climate change, pandemics, energy dependency, economic crisis among others. “No country, how big that could be, address these challenges without the support and cooperation from other countries. Most importantly, many of these issues have cross-border implications,” said NICCI vice-president Sunil KC while addressing 14th South Asia Conference, the flagship event of the government of India to promote regionalism, hosted by Manohar Parikar Institute for Défense Studies and Analysis in New Delhi.

He said that countries in the region are facing energy crisis and it will further deepen if the generation of green energy today fails to manage power generation, transmission and distribution both for industrial and domestic use. “Green energy can play a key role in establishing a resilient south Asia,” he said.

KC lamented that the region lacks a credible forum to promote robust regional integration. According to him, South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is defunct, the BBIN is stuck, and the BIMSTEC is not progressing as expected. He called for BBIN-sub-regional energy integration by having new transmission lines between India and Bangladesh for facilitating energy trade between Nepal-India-Bangladesh and Bhutan. “Nepal needs to sell surplus energy to new markets like Bangladesh, Myanmar, and possibly to Sri Lanka by 2030,” he said. Water-rich Nepal could help both India and Bangladesh achieve their dreams of increasing share of renewable energy. “India can earn foreign currency by facilitating this trade. This will be a major diplomatic victory for India,” he said.