Role of Regional Cooperation and Integration in Improving Energy Insecurity in South Asia
Energy security is a nation’s ability to meet the energy needs of its inhabitants uninterruptedly at an affordable price.
Energy security affects national security as well as the availability, extraction, and utilization of natural resources like water, agriculture land, and mining resources. Therefore, energy security is a nation’s ability to meet the energy needs of its inhabitants uninterruptedly at an affordable price—both in the short and in the long term. Over the last 2 decades, the energy security landscape has changed enormously at the global, regional, and local levels. This is particularly true in the context of South Asia, which has experienced rapid economic growth. However, wide disparity exists in terms of its energy security across the regions and between and within countries in Asia. These interrelated aspects, coupled with natural resource and energy constraints, are critical for Asia’s long-term growth and development. In particular, people see enhancing energy security through regional cooperation as an important precondition for improving its relationship to regional trade and cooperation. We examine the literature on energy security in Asia and identify existing gaps. In particular, we provide a growth nexus overview of Asia in the face of a resource-constrained future and discuss key challenges and potentials in enhancing energy security in the region. We show that increasing regional cooperation can help to improve the access to energy among the energy-deficit developing countries in Asia and can benefit the region in terms of the preservation of natural assets, agricultural production, and food security. We conclude that enhancing regional cooperation and integration in different layers of resource sharing, production, and trade can bring countries together into an interdependence network to ensure maximum use of renewable and non-renewable energy resources.