SASEC Current Affairs
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The Union Cabinet has approved signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India and South Asian Cooperative Environment Programme (SACEP) for cooperation on response to Oil and Chemical Pollution in South Asian Seas Region.
The MoU intends to promote closer cooperation between India and other maritime nations comprising South Asian seas region namely Bangladesh, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka for protection and preservation of marine environment in the region.
Indian Coast Guard (ICG) under Defence Ministry will be Competent National Authority and national operational contact point for implementation of Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan under MoU. It will respond to oil and chemical spills on behalf of Government of India. Further, ICG Maritime Rescue Coordination Centres (MRCCs) will be national emergency response centre for marine incidents.
Governments of India, Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka had established SACEP in 1982 in Sri Lanka. Its purpose was to promote and support protection, management and enhancement of environment in the South Asian region.
The SACEP jointly with International Maritime Organisation (IMO) had developed Regional Oil Spill Contingency Plan to facilitate international co-operation and mutual assistance in preparing and responding to major oil pollution incident in seas around SACEP’s maritime states of Bangladesh, India, Maldives, Pakistan and Sri Lanka.
South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation (SASEC)
SASEC program is project-based partnership to promote regional prosperity by improving cross-border connectivity, boosting trade among member countries and strengthening regional economic cooperation. It was established in 2001. Its seven members are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal and Sri Lanka. ADB is secretariat and lead financier of SASEC program. So far, it has supported 46 projects worth $9.17 billion in transport, trade facilitation, energy and information and communications technology (ICT).
The Cabinet Committee on Economic Affairs (CCEA) has given its approval for upgradation and widening of 65 kms of Imphal-Moreh Section of NH-39 in Manipur.
The Imphal-Moreh Section is a vital link in providing road connectivity up to Thailand and Malaysia. It will boost trade, commerce and tourism in the region.
The project is being developed with Asian Development Bank’s (ADB) loan assistance under the South Asian Sub-Regional Economic Cooperation (SASEC) Road Connectivity Investment Program. It aims at upgradation of road infrastructure in Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal and India (BBIN) in order to improve the regional connectivity.
The project corridor is also a part of the Asian Highway No. 01 (AH01). It will fulfil India’s “Look East” Policy and acts as India’s Gateway to the East. Thus, it will promote and enhance trade link with South East Asia. The project will also improve connectivity between Imphal with the eastern part of Manipur which is a landlocked state with almost 90% of the area under difficult terrain.
SASEC Road Connectivity Investment Program (SRCIP)
SRCIP is a strategic initiative that aims to achieve regional integration among the members of the SASEC group by improving road connectivity within the North Bengal-North Eastern Region in India. The members of SASEC group are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal.