Leveraging Myanmar gateway for robust SAARC - ASEAN relations

Leveraging Myanmar gateway for robust SAARC

Lavleen kaur kapoor

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Leveraging Myanmar gateway for robust SAARC – ASEAN relations 
About two centuries ago, dominant political settings and orientations were a defined pattern on the globe and most of the motives were inspired to actually acquiring the enemy turfs or in the later stages, engaging in blanket neo colonialism.
Today, it is a different world which is marked by mutual respect towards the territorial sovereignty of all the nations and countries. This being the hallmark of today’s global political society, interstate relations have emerged as a prominent facet. 
The evolved human cultures now recognize to live peacefully and in a mutually beneficial manner so that the human development and welfare could be optimized. Some regional groupings emerged with the same orientation and perspectives. 
Notable among those were SAARC and ASEAN that emerged in the most populous regions of the world – the South East Asia and South Asia. ASEAN was formed in 1967 and is now a ten member regional grouping of S E Asia, with socio economic development orientations for the member states. SAARC was formed later in 1985 in the South Asian region.  
SAARC - ASEAN relations
These two associations have come a long way and now have multi-dimensional character, catering to the economic progress, socio – cultural development and some fundamental geopolitical orientations too in the security and allied issues; however, the economic development has been the most defining icon of all the issues. 
Geopolitics experts and scholars have been talking about the combined potential of South and South East Asia for decades and hence prospective cooperation between ASEAN and SAARC. 
While India, the founder member of SAARC has already bridged AIFTA (ASEAN India Free Trade Agreement) that became operational in 2010, the optimized cooperative potential still needs to be fully tapped.
Many scholars have pronounced the view that Myanmar can actively act as a bridge between the two associations on the premise that it is the member state in ASEAN and holds the position of observer nation in SAARC. 
This thought has acquired much strength in the recent years when the fact emerged that AIFTA surpassed the trade target of US $70 billion well ahead of schedule. The synergism as between these two demographic giants on the globe has been therefore a sought after one and Myanmar is being assigned the lead initiative to act and foster through relationship between the two associations. 
The SAARC window of ‘Observer Status’ offers much scope for the enhanced role of Myanmar in SAARC. Myanmar can easily import ASEAN thought and aspirations into the SAARC fold and infuse vitalities in the segments of social/cultural development and more importantly economic development.
The cause of economic development has been a potent one in the major South East Asian economies on account of the heavy depressions, rather collapses that were encountered by them in the past decades. 
There is a strong inclination to bring in the good economics principles of practical utility from well-placed nations like India which have demonstrated noted endurance characteristics in the current economic downturn. Myanmar could act as the sure gateway for building vibrant socio economic linkages between the two giants. 
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