Fourth BIMSTEC Summit Declaration, Kathmandu, Nepal

Member states of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) will sign an agreement to establish electricity grid interconnection at a summit next week in Kathmandu,

THEME OF BIMSTEC SUMMIT 2018: The theme of the fourth BIMSTEC summit is ‘Towards a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal region’.

Kathmandu Declaration:

The Fourth BIMSTEC Summit concluded with an 18-point Kathmandu Declaration. The declaration is expected to enhance the effectiveness of the BIMSTEC Secretariat by engaging it in various technical and economic activities in the region.

The Kathmandu Declaration has underlined the importance of multidimensional connectivity as a key enabler to economic integration for the shared prosperity of the region. The declaration also highlighted the importance of trade and investment as one of the major contributing factors for fostering economic and social development in the region.

The declaration said the “fight against terrorism should target not only terrorists, terror organizations and networks but also identify and hold accountable States and non-State entities that encourage, support or finance terrorism, provide sanctuaries to terrorists and terror groups and falsely extol their virtues.”

It asked all nations to devise a comprehensive approach which should include preventing financing of terrorists and terrorist actions from territories under their control, blocking recruitment and cross-border movement of terrorists, countering radicalization, countering misuse of the internet for purposes of terrorism and dismantling terrorist safe havens.

It said that combating terrorism and transnational organized crimes require sustained efforts and cooperation and a comprehensive approach involving active participation and collaboration of the Member States.

The declaration also recognized that eradication of poverty is the greatest regional challenge in realizing development objectives and expressed firm commitment to work together for implementing the Agenda 2030 for sustainable development.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization comprising of seven member states in South Asia and Southeast Asia lying in littoral and adjacent areas of Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity.

This sub-regional organization came into being on June 6, 1997, through the Bangkok Declaration. It is headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

It comprises of seven member countries: five deriving from South Asia — including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka — and two from Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Thailand.

Initially, the economic bloc was formed with four Member States with the acronym ‘BIST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation).

Following the inclusion of Myanmar during a special Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok on December 22, 1997, the group was renamed ‘BIMST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation).

With the admission of Nepal and Bhutan at the 6th Ministerial Meeting in February 2004, the name of the grouping was changed to ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (BIMSTEC).

BIMSTEC is a sector-driven cooperative organization. Technological and economic cooperation among South Asian and Southeast Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal is its main objective.

Starting with six sectors-including trade, technology, energy, transport, tourism and fisheries-for sectoral cooperation in late 1997, it expanded to embrace nine more sectors-including agriculture, public health, poverty alleviation, counter-terrorism, environment, culture, people to people contact and climate change-in 2008.

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