India attends 4th BIMSTEC summit in Kathmandu

The seven-nation BIMSTEC bloc that includes Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal reaffirmed their commitment towards making Bay of Bengal Region peaceful, prosperous and sustainable

August 31, 2018

BIMSTEC has gained increasing significance given not just improving ties between the member nations, but the region’s rising importance as a fast-growing trade and investment hub

The leaders of the seven BIMSTEC states affirmed their commitment to make the Bay of Bengal region peaceful, prosperous and sustainable by building on common strengths

The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute around 22 per cent of the global population with a combined gross domestic product of US$3.5 trillion

BIMSTEC nations have identified 14 priority sectors for cooperation and several dedicated centres have been established to focus on those sectors to drive sustainable growth

The fourth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) bloc was held in Kathmandu, Nepal, over August 30-31. BIMSTEC brings together seven nations – Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal – located in the Bay of Bengal region. The bloc has gained increasing significance given not just improving ties between the member nations, but the region’s rising importance as a fast-growing trade and investment hub. On the occasion, leaders of the seven BIMSTEC states affirmed their commitment to make the Bay of Bengal region peaceful, prosperous and sustainable by building on common strengths.

 

The third BIMSTEC summit was held at Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar in 2014, while India organised a BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreat in Goa in 2016. Since the inception of the BIMSTEC bloc in 1997, its member nations have built on their geographical contiguity, abundant natural and human resources, rich historical and cultural linkages to promote deeper cooperation in identified areas in the region. The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute around 22 per cent of the global population with a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of US$3.5 trillion. In the last five years, BIMSTEC states have recorded an average 6.5 per cent economic growth amid global uncertainties.

 

BIMSTEC nations have identified 14 priority sectors for cooperation and several dedicated centres have been established to focus on those sectors. The nations have focused on jointly tackling developmental issues related to nutrition, healthcare, sanitation, literacy, infrastructure, public services, job creation, technology uptake, resources utilisation and climate change. Plans related to these efforts were discussed at the summit. The bloc is also negotiating a BIMSTEC free trade agreement, apart from activities to revitalize the BIMSTEC Business Forum and the BIMSTEC Economic Forum to strengthen Government–Private sector cooperation for the promotion of trade and investment.