Nepal proposes date for Bimstec summit at senior officials’ meetingNepal has proposed to host the fourth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation towards the end of this year.
Nepal has proposed to host the fourth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation towards the end of this year.
As the chair of the regional grouping, Nepal, according to officials who attended the Bimstec senior officials’ meeting that concluded in Kathmandu on Tuesday, offered to host the summit in October or November. The exact date would be circulated to the member states during the Bimstec ministerial meeting slated for June.
The three-day meeting attended by foreign secretaries and joint secretaries from the seven countries deliberated issues related to strengthening and revitalising the Bimstec process.
“Nepal offered to host the 15th Bimstec ministerial meeting in June and the fourth Bimstec Summit towards the end of 2017, in consolation with the member countries,” said Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi. The agenda of the meeting included connectivity, trade, tourism, investment, energy and technology transfer.
Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal are the Bimstec members.
The three-day meeting also tasked an Eminent Persons’ Group with working out the Bimstec vision corresponding to the UN Agenda 2030. It also decided to conclude the Bimstec Free Trade Agreement at the earliest.
The meeting agreed to form an expert working group on trade facilitation agreement, mutual assistance in customs matters, cooperation on countering radicalisation and terrorism, coastal shipping agreement, disaster management and blue economy, which is also called marine-based economic development.
The meeting decided to celebrate the 20th anniversary of Bimstec establishment with various activities in the member states and its secretariat in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
They included releasing commemorative postal stamps depicting Bimstec heritage sites and promoting Bimstec Buddhist circuit and tourism.
The member states, according to Bairagi, have agreed to sign a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of the Bimstec Grid Interconnection at the third energy ministers’ meeting expected to be held in Kathmandu on March 30-31 after competing their internal procedures. During the meeting, Nepal offered to prepare a concept paper on mountain economy for exploring and exploiting its potential, according to Bairagi.
Mahat stresses road connectivity
Foreign Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat has stressed road connectivity among member states of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.
In a meeting on Tuesday with foreign secretaries of the Bimstec countries, who are presently in Kathmandu for participating in the senior officials’ meeting, Mahat said he hoped that linking the Bimstec member states by road would help accelerate development of the region and strengthen mutual and people-to-people relations. Nepal is hosting the senior officials’ meeting in Kathmandu as the chair of the regional grouping.
Bimstec is an important forum for its member states as it helps in tourism promotion and economic development, Mahat added.