The United States remains commited to advancing regional integration among South Asian countries and is a key advocate for strengthening regional economic connectivity, US Consul General Craig Hall said today. The US Consulate Kolkata is part of the effort, in part due to the city’s strategic location at the crossroads between South and South-East Asia – which makes it a natural hub for regional connectivity,” Hall said after a roundtable conference on Indo-Asian connectivity at the American Center here.
The meet was organised by US Consulate General in partnership with the Consumer Unity and Trust Society (CUTS International). “Private sector participation and engagement are crucial to our approach, which seeks to create an enabling environment for business, stimulate investment and enhance regional stability and security through inclusive growth,” Hall said.
“Working hand-in-hand with local partners, the United States is committed to making greater connectivity a reality in South Asia,” he underscored. At the roundtable meet, Hall referred to the large conference on Indo-Pacific connectivity in last December in which 300 participants, including three U.S. Ambassadors from across the region discussed US priorities in the region as well as heard from regional stakeholders.
CUTS Associate Director Prithviraj Nath told PTI on the sidelines, the “Kolkata roundtable meeting shared, discussed in a brainstorming session how to take forward the the agenda on connectivity at the ‘Indo-Asian Connectivity for Shared Prosperity’ conference on December 14-15, 2016 in Kolkata and subsequent Dhaka meet ‘Facilitating Connectivity in the Bay of Bengal region’.
The Dhaka meet took place in the run-up to the Kolkata roundtable. The conference brought together key policy makers – businessman, corporate, government officials, media, academics and civil society members from India, South and Southeast Asia and the US to identify and discuss common issues of concern obstructing the free flow of goods, services, explore investment opportunities and recommend possible solutions.
Nath said Kolkata can be the nodal centre for the reginal connectivity due to it’s strategic location, “but we need pro-active action from central and state governments.”