KOLKATA: The US is keen on India's inclusion in the Trans Pacific Partnership (TPP). Speaking at an interactive session organized by the Indian Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday, August 20, ErnestBower, senior advisor, Sumitro Chair for South East Asia Studies and co-director, Pacific Partners Initiative, Center for Strategic & International Studies, Washington DC, elaborated on the recent US diplomatic efforts at promoting greater regional economic integrity in South Asiaand South East Asia.
Bower felt the ASEAN can be the fulcrum for a new economic architecture in Asia and can effectively balance the rising economic and political hegemony of China, which is threatening to escalate regional conflict in sea-trade connectivity between the Indian Ocean and Pacific region, which caters to two-third of the global trade. Chinese economic presence in countries like Myanmar has bypassed the issue of local development with profit plough back and employment of only Chinese workers in these business ventures, noted Mr Bower. This inks out the huge investment potential for countries like US and India in Myanmar.
Speaking on US keenness to include India in the TPP, which is the current US trade policy in Asia, Bower was equally eager for sprucing up US engagement with the ASEAN, as a common platform for promoting greater economic partnership with India.
Informing that the US investment in SE Asia was 10 times more than that in India and 4 times more than that in China, Bower said the US investors are however, have currently practically lined up for investment opportunities in India and the ASEAN. Bower called for the formation of focus groups for solving the ground level implementation issues of LEP in North East India.
The session was attended by Alok Sen, former Indian ambassador to Myanmar, Kyaw Swe Tint, consul general, Myanmar, Rachel Sunden, deputy director, American Center, Gaurav Bansal, political & economic affairs officer, US Consulate, Kolkata and Richard Craig, commercial officer, US Consulate among others.