Politics, Economics and Connectivity: In Search of the South Asian Union- book review


Politics, Economics and Connectivity: In Search of the South Asian Union, a book authored by Dr Srimal Fernando develops a powerful framework for the analysis of regional integration in South Asia that informs the policy-making apparatus of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation. An in depth knowledge of South Asia’s history, politics and its people across all classes of society has been an innate motivator for the author in penning down his findings.

The Indian Ocean Rim Association (IORA) Secretary General, Ambassador Nomvuyo Nokwe said, “Though the book is largely related with the South Asian region, the lessons learnt and the best practices for running the organisation are very much relevant for other regional organisations in the Indian Ocean region.”

The book also received praise from Advocate Ajay Sooklal, a Legal and Economic Diplomacy Specialist residing in South Africa.

“Dr Fernando as a creative writer began drawing attention to the ideas of Regional Integration that provides a comprehensible framework to understand the growing significance of the SAARC organisation in his latest edition,” said Sooklal.

The South Asian region has, over the years, undergone several stages of transition. The region today accounts for almost one fourth of the world’s population. There is a strong connection between the authority of regional integration organizations such as SAARC and the effective implementation of regional integration initiatives.

“In Search of a South Asian Union” Fernando offers his unique understanding of the diverse people, their history and the strategic political and economic importance of the South Asian nations. In addition, this book gives insights into the regional partnerships that are essential to growth, stability and prosperity in this era of globalization,” said New York based Marla Mossman, Founder and Artistic Director of the Peace Caravan Project.

This book spans across seven chapters. The recommendations made in this book will lead to the uniform development in all the sectors as a prerequisite for sustained economic progress although challenges related with globalization and operational environment for regionalisation in South Asia need to be analysed and understood.

As Founding Editor of The Diplomatic Society in South Africa, Kirtan Bhana acknowledged the importance of this book for regional cooperation.

“Dr Srimal Fernando encapsulates succinctly the multiplier value of a South Asian Union in this work . He delves into the rich and dynamic past of a region which is often referred to as a sub-continent due to the magnitude of its size. Its ancient recorded history began several thousand years ago and has been the cradle of millennia old civilizations whose impact and influence still resonate today,” said Bhana.

There is no doubt that the SAARC member states still have a long way to go before their acknowledgment of SAARC as the regional supranational institution. As is the case with the EU and ASEAN where experiments in regional integration have been largely successful, the South Asian nations still have to work towards accepting an institution working for the achievement of broader regional goals .

This book by the award winning author, Dr Srimal Fernando, enriches the readers’ understanding of the formation of the South Asian union and represents an original and important contribution to the study of regional integration.


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