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Sujeev Shakya: South Asia must embrace frontier opportunities

Connectivity-boosting border economic zones can spur growth and improve lives

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Passengers ride a cart across the border from India into Nepal.   © Reuters

In South Asia, connectivity is seen as the prerogative of capital cities, with people who live in border areas routinely ignored. Instead of finding ways of improving connectivity throughout the region, summits of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation usually focus on whether the Indian and Pakistani prime ministers will shake hands, followed by a debate on their body language when they do.

At a recent conference in New Delhi on South Asian connectivity, I found myself wondering whether there are better ways to push connectivity on a people-to-people basis -- a way that would have a real and positive economic impact for the millions living in border areas that were too often imposed in great haste by colonial or post-colonial powers.

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