On February 23, 2018, the representatives of Turkmenistan, Afghanistan, Pakistan, and India attended the ground-breaking ceremony for the TAPI gas pipeline, which is intended to transfer 33 billion cubic feet of natural gas from Turkmenistan to the three countries.
In a bid to secure reconciliation, the Afghan government continued the Kabul Peace Process with both international and regional involvement. It extended an olive branch to the Taliban by agreeing to hold talks with it “without preconditions.”
Bilateral ties between India and Pakistan have been on a consistent downward spiral since 2016. Some recent developments have been important, raising renewed hope that both countries are looking at a revival of engagement.
Bhutan and Nepal, categorized as Least Developed Countries, rank second and third best among South Asian countries in the 2017 edition of the SDG Index and Dashboards Report. This points to differences in the way “development” is defined.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi recently visited the United Arab Emirates as part of his Middle East trip. Modi also attended the World Government Forum as Guest of Honour, an occasion for those deemed important by the Gulf sheikhdom.
The US decision to cut its security aid to Pakistan brings nothing new into US-Pakistan bilateral dynamics. The US had already done that previously when it cut the Coalition Support Funds amounting to USD 900 million for the financial years 2015 and 2016.
Singapore has played an important role in connecting South Asia with East Asia. It would be fair to say, that in addition to the economic reforms of 1991, and the efforts of successive governments, Singapore deserves credit for helping India strengthen ties with ASEAN.
The Chief Minister of West Bengal Mamata Banerjee has been pro-active in her outreach to both domestic and foreign investors. She has led delegations to a number of countries including the UK and Singapore.
Israeli prime minister Benjamin Netanyahu visited India on a six-day official trip in January 2018. Netanyahu’s visit, coming only six months after Indian prime minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Israel, is evidence of how quickly bilateral relations are expanding.