The United States remains a strong partner in bringing the countries of South and Central Asia together economically. Greater linkages in this part of the globe, said Neil Kromash, Deputy Director for Regional Affairs in the Bureau of South and Central Asia, will benefit all the economies in the region, as well as the American economy.
The United States has much to offer in terms of further integrating the region, including cutting edge technology, innovative partnerships, and a fair and transparent system. "And so we see ourselves," said Kromash, "as true partners with all the countries of the region in this ambitious integration effort."
India, as the anchor of South Asia and an indispensable partner of the United States, plays a leading role. Its government is engaging with ASEAN countries at summit level, negotiating regional trade agreements and other strategic investments meant to open new markets to the region.
Nepal was recently selected for Millennium Challenge Corporation compact eligibility, which recognizes Nepal's advances in governance, economic freedom, and investing in people. In the near future, we will be working closely with the Nepalese government to design and implement the MCC compact. We will focus on helping Nepal develop its energy sector and tap into its vast hydropower resources by addressing badly needed infrastructure and regulatory reforms.
Bangladesh is strategically situated at the intersection of China, South Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Indian Ocean. This makes it an ideal hub for connectivity. Despite the country's ongoing political turmoil, the U.S. seeks to strengthen its bilateral relationship while focusing on regional economic cooperation.
Burma is still in the process of overcoming decades of isolation. Since its political transition got underway in 2011, foreign investment inside the country has more than quadrupled. While many challenges remain, Burma stands as a potential conduit and catalyst for trade between South and Southeast Asia, and its improving economic climate has a big role to play in the region’s future capacity to ensure goods and services flow freely across borders.
And finally, it is important to take note of the positive developments that have taken place in Sri Lanka with its democratic election in January. The U.S. will fully support the new government's efforts to restore democracy, heal ethnic tensions, and achieve diversified economic growth.
The United States is committed to work with the countries of South and Central Asia to bring about regional economic growth.