How the opportunity costs were imposed due to the sealed borders in South Asia?
Even though South Asia has a shared history and common cultural traits, it is the least integrated region. This is owing to the factor of sealed borders and bilateral tensions which are hindering the free movement of goods and people.
- South Asia’s potential for sustained high growth has been blocked by the tightened national borders between India, Pakistan and Bangladesh.
- The rising fundamentalism and ultra-nationalist narrative have made people believe that this separate living is how it has always been and the economic history of the Subcontinent is almost forgotten.
- The economic synergy across the different parts of the Subcontinent was an unquestioned historical reality before the partition in 1947 and the doors were shut only after the India-Pakistan war of 1965.
- This shutting of doors led to crumbling of the historical connectivity. This resulted in massive dysfunction as economies of scale and production chains were disrupted.
- The opportunity costs were incalculable in terms of infrastructure, production, and commerce. It would have been heart-rending if one tries to calculate the loss in livelihoods.
- The tensions between the countries of South Asia is so intense that neither the academicians nor the governments are willing to theorise on the opportunities of economic growth and social justice that regionalism holds, through soft/open borders.
‘South Asia’ must be viewed through the lens of social justice, to be achieved through economic rationalisation, sub-regional interactions, and reduced military budgets and open borders such as exists between Nepal and India.