Kithmina Hewage Discusses Contours of BIMSTEC Cooperation Post COVID-19
20 May 2020
IPS Research Economist, Kithmina Hewage, was a panelist at a discussion on the ‘Contours of BIMSTEC Cooperation in Post COVID-19’, organised by the Asian Confluence, on 20 May 2020.
Mr. Hewage drew attention to the fact that collaborations and support among the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries will largely depend on India’s appetite for regionalism in a post COVID-19 world. He further noted that greater progress, in the short-term, as well as long term, is likely to take place with direct private sector engagement rather than rely on government led initiatives.
Moreover, he noted the potential for innovative ideas such as “travel bubbles” between BIMSTEC members, which succeed in controlling the spread of COVID-19. Finally, Mr. Hewage noted that opportunities may arise to create better regional value chains as the world experiences a shift in global supply chains, with firms moving away from their dependence on China and look towards alternate supply chains through countries such as Thailand and India.
The panel consisted of the BIMSTEC Secretary General, H.E. Amb. Shahidul Islam, as well as representatives from think tanks and the private sector of all seven BIMSTEC nations.