Presentation made in Session 5: Institutional Arrangements at the 10th Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) Regional Cooperation Forum, Kolkata, 19 February 2012.
There has been a constant debate between India and China about bringing the Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) Regional Cooperation Forum up to the full Track-1 level. There is the example of the Russia-India-China Track-2 dialogue that has a parallel Track-1 process starting with meetings of the three foreign ministers and later followed by regular meetings of the heads of government. This was no doubt inspired also by the post-9/11 scenario of unilateral US actions and the need for an alternative global order formulation. The point is that this can be done.
Today, the BCIM is in effect a Track-1.5 process, involving both scholars as well as officials even if the level of official participation varies from country to country. It is understood that for all the flexibility of the Track-2 mechanism, any real action is only possible if government officials are involved. But since the flexibility is useful, a case can be made for Track-1.5 plus Track-1 level interactions, so that governments have a role to play at all stages. (more…)