Positive unison

It is a great idea to prepare a multilateral power trade agreement, as it would greatly contribute to the socio-economic development of the South Asian countries. According to a study carried out by South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy (SARI/E), enhancement of power trade among member states of South Asia Growth Quadrangle (SAGQ), which include India, Nepal, Bhutan and Bangladesh, would create growth opportunities for these countries, benefiting it as the region as a whole. Though the SAGQ countries possess vast hydropower, forest, coal and natural gas, the per capita energy consumption is only 5.9 per cent. Energy shortage is highlighted as the major factor for low growth in the region. Therefore, it has been urged that SAGQ members immediately go for a sub-regional cooperation in energy sector, which will enhance the volume of power supply that will ultimately stimulate industrial development. If power grid connectivity is developed thro-ugh power trade agreements among member states, it would earn Nepal and other countries millions annually. For example, the power export potential to India from the proposed 750 MW West Seti Project alone could earn Nepal nearly $1.25 billion by 2031.

Since regional experts have been arguing for sometime now that the environment is just apt for any South Asian initiatives, the SAGQ will be better off moving ahead with the proposed programme. And since this is a separate entity from the SAARC, there is no reason why an agreement cannot materialise. The only hindrance to any regional plan so far has been over-politicisation of issues. The SAGQ countries should leave politics aside and cooperate for the larger interest of the people in the region. Also, during various regional meetings it has been observed that every country just wants to engage in futile arguments with the object of winning points. They, in the bargain, overlook the substantial issues. Though every country has to keep its national interest uppermost in mind, it is time that regional interest is given due attention. For this, member countries have to compromise and make adjustments, as the fallouts of any positive initiative benefit all. Instead of debating unnecessarily over issues, the SAGQ members should push for implementation of the good ideas, which could lead to regional prosperity.