South Asian diaspora is key to trade

London, November 24:

The South Asian diaspora’s business links with their countries of origin can help influence their governments to iron out political problems for speedier growth and progress in the region, according to noted economist Lord Meghnad Desai.

Speaking at the Commonwealth Business Council-SAARC South Asian Trade and Investment Forum, Lord Desai noted that South Asia holds much promise, but unless political problems were sorted out, the region would not see much growth and progress.

The solution to such problems may lie with diaspora business, which can urge South Asian governments to adopt liberal trade policies. “The diaspora can influence South Asian policies in various capitals,” Lord Desai said.

Recalling that the region enjoyed free movement of labour and trade in the first half of the century, Lord Desai said, “And then because of Kashmir, India and Pakistan have deliberately shot themselves in the foot.”

Commonwealth Business Council (CBC) director-general Mohan Kaul said, “This Forum takes place at an important juncture in the growth of the global economy, with South Asia emerging as a region on the rise.”