Three economic deals to be signed during the 18th summit of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) will be a milestone for the region's economic development, experts said here on Saturday.
The three pacts are Agreement for the Regulation of Passenger and Cargo Vehicular Traffic, SAARC Regional Agreement on Railways and SAARC Framework Agreement for Energy Cooperation (Electricity).
Talking to Xinhua, Purushottam Ojha, an economic analyst said, these agreements will pave way for cross-border movement of vehicles and goods, eventually promoting intra-regional trade which is often taken as an effective indicator of regional economic cooperation.
It is reported that the intra trade has been at an insignificant five percent of SAARC's total trade since the establishment of the association in 1985.
For SAARC countries' failure, Ojha, also former secretary at the Ministry of Commerce and Supply of Nepal, said it is due to lack of transport and border infrastructures, and non- harmonization of regulatory mechanisms.
Dr. Adhikari, a Nepalese economic expert who is currently serving the World Trade Organization told Xinhua that enhancing sub-regional connectivity among SAARC member states is feasible, particularly between Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.
"For this, we need to take the model of Greater Mekong Sub Region, where countries have not only invested their political capital but also resources to enhance connectivity within the sub- region. This was further buttressed by the support from Asian Development Bank and other development partners."
With the theme "Deeper Integration for Peace and Prosperity," the 18th summit to be held in Kathmandu from November 26 and 27 is expected to discuss entire spectrum of issues including advance ways to expand economic cooperation among the South Asian countries.