Prelims level : Governance Mains level : GS-II Governance, Social Justice and IR
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Why in News:

  • Building connectivity in the South Asian region and coordinating economic issues will be top priorities of the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), said S. Jaishankar.

Background: / More in News

  • Jaishankar is on a two-day tour to Thimphu on June 7-8 to meet with the King of Bhutan, Prime Minister Lotay Tshering, and Foreign Minister Tandi Dorji
  • Speaking at the event organised by the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), Ananta Centre and Smadja and Smadja, S Jaishankar highlighted three trends being witnessed in the world which include
  • Globalisation under stress especially in terms of market access and mobility of labour, Growth of nationalism and
  • Global rebalancing.

On South Asia:


  • Mr Jaishankar indicated that the government had chosen to invite leaders of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) rather than leaders of SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation), because there was a higher likelihood of making progress with BIMSTEC, as it doesn’t include Pakistan.

Regional Connectivity:

  • He highlighted the importance of regional connectivity. South Asia is among the least inter-connected regions in the world, but efforts are being made to make the region more integrated.
  • Mr Jaishankar  emphasised the need for more regional  exchanges,  saying India needed to “incentivise cooperation in the neighbourhood” by being “generous” to smaller neighbours.

On Economy:

  • Jaishankar also spoke on the need for more coordination between the MEA and economic ministries.
  • The comments reflect the economic challenges the government faces immediately, given the United States decision to withdraw India’s ‘GSP’ preferential trade status, and the emerging costs of replacing Iranian oil after sanctions.
  • He also said that a large part of India’s economy has been externalised and there is a need for India’s foreign policy and the diplomatic machinery to help Indian companies gain better access to overseas markets.
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