The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC):

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May 13, 2024

The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC):

The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation Program, set up in 2001, brings together Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, and Sri Lanka in a project-based partnership to promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries, and strengthening regional economic cooperation.

The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) program is a project-based initiative focused on promoting economic development in South Asia.


  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India
  • Maldives
  • Myanmar
  • Nepal
  • Sri Lanka


Boosts Intraregional Trade: SASEC aims to improve trade links between member countries by facilitating cross-border movement of goods and people. This can lead to increased economic activity, job creation, and overall prosperity in the region.

Improves Connectivity: The program prioritizes developing infrastructure projects like roads, railways, and ports. Better connectivity reduces transportation costs and time, making it easier for businesses to trade and collaborate across borders.

Energy Security: SASEC promotes cooperation on energy projects to ensure reliable and affordable energy supplies for member countries. This is crucial for powering economic growth and development.

Links to Southeast Asia: SASEC looks to establish trade and economic ties with Southeast Asia through Myanmar, creating a wider economic corridor with greater opportunities.


Political Tensions: Political differences and occasional tensions between member countries can hinder cooperation and project implementation.

Infrastructure Bottlenecks: Developing and maintaining cross-border infrastructure requires significant investment, and bureaucratic hurdles can slow down progress.

Non-Tariff Barriers: Trade restrictions beyond tariffs, like complex customs procedures, can impede the flow of goods and services within the region.

Uneven Development: The economic disparities between member countries can create challenges in ensuring all participants benefit equally from SASEC initiatives.

Overall, SASEC represents a significant effort to promote economic cooperation and shared prosperity in South Asia. Overcoming the challenges will be crucial to maximizing the program’s impact and creating a more integrated and vibrant regional economy

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The South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC): | Vaid ICS Institute