ISSN (Print) - 0012-9976 | ISSN (Online) - 2349-8846
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Borders, Migration and Sub-Regional Cooperation in Eastern South Asia

This paper questions the rhetoric of a "borderless world" and whether trans-border economic cooperation could overcome tensions arising out of the existing borders. Conflicts over borders and migration have characterised the relationships among the countries of eastern south Asia. The problems mainly stem from the introduction of the concept of a border by the British under the process of colonisation. The construction of borders was important not only in visualising an exclusive control of the ruler over particular geographical regions, but also in dividing people into "locals" and "migrants". In the 1990s, there were two discernible changes in the political and economic environment of eastern south Asia: India's policy shift to improve relationship with smaller neighbours, and the promotion of sub-regional cooperation. Nevertheless, migration and border disputes remain as thorny as before because sub-regional cooperation in eastern south Asia is characterised not by deconstruction of borders as political discourses, but by the absence of serious thinking about borders and borderlands, not to speak of the people who have to live with border realities.

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