“One cannot but be captivated by the vision of an integrated market, spanning the distance from the Himalayas to the Pacific Ocean, linked by efficient road, rail, air and shipping services.
This community of nations (an Asian Economic Community, which encompasses ASEAN, China, Japan, Korea and India) would constitute an “arc of advantage”, across which there would be large-scale movement of people, capital, ideas and creativity. Such a community would be roughly the size of the European Union in terms of income and bigger than NAFTA in terms of trade.
It would account for half the world’s population and it would hold foreign exchange reserves exceeding those of the EU and NAFTA put together.
This is an idea whose time is fast approaching, and we must be prepared for it collectively.”
- Prime Minister of India, Dr Manmohan Singh
Indeed, the time has come for Asia to build its own economic community. An Asian Community that could enable the region to consolidate its growth and emerge as the centre of gravity in the world economy. Voices for more intensive cooperation among Asian countries are emanating from different places. It is also evident from the importance being attached by different Asian countries to regional economic integration at the bilateral or sub-regional levels. The think tank community of Asia has a critical role to play in realising the dream of building a New Asia by showing the way forward to the policy makers with specific proposals for implementation.
The New Asia Forum seeks to fulfill this role, in a two-pronged way. Firstly, it serves as a dedicated network of think tanks and individuals in Asia devoted to assist this process of regional integration. Secondly, it serves as a platform for exchange of views, dissemination of ideas and policy research by providing all the relevant information and resources on the subject. The Forum serves as the best archive on issues of regional cooperation and inegration in the Asian region. It also focuses its efforts on reaching out to the policy makers so as to bring about the groundwork initiated for the evolution of An Asian Economic Community. The Forum would aim to also focus on the process of Asian regional integration in an all pervasive manner. The New Asia Forum welcomes all to this process of building a New Asia.
Feedback and Contributions (Ideas, Information or Articles) are invited from all concerned.
The New Asia Forum is an initiative of the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS). RIS is an auotonomous policy think-tank, based in New Delhi, specialised in trade and development issues. Its work programme focuses on multilateral trade negotiations, regional economic integration in Asia, new technologies and development and South-South Cooperation in general, among other issues. The work of RIS is published in the form of research reports, books, discussion papers and journals. For more information about RIS and its work programmes, please visit:www.ris.org.in.