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17TH BIMSTEC MINISTERIAL MEETING, Read daily Article Editorials only on Success Mantra Blog

17TH BIMSTEC MINISTERIAL MEETING

Diksha Sharma 10 MINUTES

17TH BIMSTEC MINISTERIAL MEETING

17TH BIMSTEC MINISTERIAL MEETING

Recently, the External Affairs Minister of India participated in the 17th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Ministerial Meeting. The meeting, chaired by Sri Lanka, was held in virtual mode.

 

INDIA'S STAND AT THE MINISTERIAL MEETING

  • India’s Commitment: To further build the momentum of regional cooperation under the BIMSTEC framework and make the organization stronger, vibrant, more effective and result-oriented.
  • Progress: Highlighted progress achieved in sectors where India is the Lead Country viz Counter Terrorism & Trans-national Crime, Transport & Communication, Tourism, and Environmental & Disaster management and other activities.
  • Importance of Connectivity: Robust connectivity is an essential prerequisite for economic integration of the region with smooth cross-border movement of people and goods.
  • Outcome of the Meeting: The meeting endorsed the BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity for adoption at the next BIMSTEC Summit, which will be held in Sri Lanka. India’s northeastern states form a key part of the master plan, with several road and river links passing through the region. Called for early adoption of the BIMSTEC Charter. The meeting also endorsed three MoUs/agreements relating to convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal matters, cooperation between diplomatic and training academies and establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility in Colombo (Sri Lanka). Took note that the BIMSTEC Centre for Weather and Climate, being hosted in India, is fully functional with state of the art facilities to provide Disaster Early Warnings.
  • Concern: Cohesion among the members has been difficult to achieve mainly because of the Rohingya refugee crisis which created bitterness between Myanmar and Bangladesh. This affected the working of the organisation to some extent as it could not develop a common charter.

 

'BIMSTEC' A MULTILATERAL ORGANISATION

17TH BIMSTEC MINISTERIAL MEETING

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional multilateral organisation. Its members lie in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity. Out of the 7 members, Five are from South Asia – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Two are from Southeast Asia – Myanmar, Thailand

BIMSTEC not only connects South and Southeast Asia, but also the ecologies of the Great Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal. It mainly aims to create an enabling environment for rapid economic development; accelerate social progress; and promote collaboration on matters of common interest in the region.

 

HISTORICAL BACKGROUND & GENESIS OF BIMSTEC

This sub-regional organization came into being in 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration. Initially, it was formed with four Member States with the acronym ‘BIST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Sri-Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation). It became renamed ‘BIMST-EC’ in 1997, following the inclusion of Myanmar. With the admission of Nepal and Bhutan in 2004, the name of the grouping was changed to ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (BIMSTEC).

 

OBJECTIVES OF THE ORGANISATION

Creating an enabling environment for the rapid economic development of the sub-region. Encouraging the spirit of equality and partnership. Promoting active collaboration and mutual assistance in the areas of common interests of the member countries Accelerating support for each other in the fields of education, science, and technology, etc. Bridge between South and the South East Asia and represents a reinforcement of relations among these countries. Platform for intra-regional cooperation between SAARC and ASEAN members. Home to around 1.5 billion people that constitute around 22% of the global population. With a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of 2.7 trillion economy, BIMSTEC Member States have been able to sustain an average 6.5% economic growth trajectory in the last five years. A fourth of the world’s traded goods cross the bay every year.

Important connectivity Projects

Kaladan Multimodal Project – links India and Myanmar.

Asian Trilateral Highway - connecting India and Thailand through Myanmar.

Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement - for seamless flow of passenger and cargo traffic.

 

SIGNIFICANCE OF BIMSTEC FOR INDIA

17TH BIMSTEC MINISTERIAL MEETING

Allows India to pursue three core policies: Neighborhood First - primacy to the country’s  immediate periphery;  Act East - connect India with Southeast Asia; and Economic development of India’s northeastern states – by linking them to the Bay of Bengal region via Bangladesh and Myanmar. Allows India to counter China’s creeping influence in countries around the Bay of Bengal due to the spread of its Belt and Road Initiative. A new platform for India to engage with its neighbors with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) becoming dysfunctional because of differences between India and Pakistan.

 

TEST YOURSELF

Q.1 Which of the following from India have participated in the 17th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Ministerial Meeting?

  1. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar: ANSWER
  2. Harsh Vardhan Shringla, Foreign Secretary
  3. Defence Minister Rajnath Singh
  4. None of the above

 

Q.2 Consider the following statements & state which of the following is correct in the context of the above mentioned passage?

  1. 17th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Ministerial Meeting chaired by Myanmar was held in virtual mode.
  2. India is committed to further build the momentum of regional cooperation under the BIMSTEC framework and make the organization stronger, vibrant, more effective and result-oriented.
  3. The meeting endorsed the BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity for adoption at the next BIMSTEC Summit, which will be held in Sri Lanka.

 

  1. I & II follows
  2. I & III follows
  3. II & III follows: ANSWER
  4. None of the above

 

Q.3 Which of the following countries is not a member nation of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)?

  1. Sri Lanka
  2. Myanmar
  3. Bangladesh
  4. Maldives: ANSWER

 

Q.4 Which of the following given statements is included in the main aims & objectives of the Multilateral organization 'BIMSTEC'?

  1. Creating an enabling environment for the rapid economic development of the sub-region.
  2. Restricting or limiting the dominance of China in the Indo-Pacific region: ANSWER
  3. Promoting active collaboration and mutual assistance in the areas of common interests of the member countries
  4. Accelerating support for each other in the fields of education, science, and technology, etc.

 

Q.5 The Kaladan Multimodal Project is an initiative which will link which of the following two nations of BIMSTEC?

  1. India & Bangladesh
  2. Myanmar & Bangladesh
  3. India & Myanmar: ANSWER
  4. None of the above