The fourth BIMSTEC summit concluded in Kathmandu on August 31, 2018. At the end of the Summit a collective declaration was put forth by the member countries. In the declaration the leaders of member countries reaffirmed their strong commitment to make BIMSTEC a dynamic, effective and result-oriented regional organization.
Following are the main elements of the 18-point BIMSTEC Kathmandu declaration:
- The Prime Minister of Nepal K.P. Sharma Oli presented the draft Kathmandu declaration which was unanimously adopted by all member states.
- Reiterating strong commitment to combat terrorism the leaders called upon all countries to devise a comprehensive approach to prevent financing of terrorists and terrorist actions from territories under their control.
- The member agreed on blocking recruitment and cross-border movement of terrorists.
- The members pledged to counter radicalization, countering misuse of internet for purposes of terrorism and dismantling terrorist safe havens.
- BIMSTEC will ‘identify and hold accountable states and non-state entities that encourage, support and finance terrorism’ and explore the possibility of establishing a BIMSTEC Development Fund.
- The leaders also committed themselves for promoting a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal Region through meaningful cooperation and deeper integration.
- The leaders of all seven member states including Prime Minister Narendra Modi underscored the importance of robust institutional arrangements to effectively steer the process of regional cooperation under BIMSTEC.
- The Kathmandu Declaration underlined the importance of multidimensional connectivity as a key enabler for economic integration and shared prosperity of the region.
BIMSTEC is expanded as the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). This is an international organisation of seven nations of South Asia and South East Asia. BIMSTEC member countries have a combined population of 1.5 billion and gross domestic product of $3.5 trillion (2018).The BIMSTEC member states include Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand , Nepal and Bhutan . All these countries are dependent on the Bay of Bengal. BIMSTEC countries have identified fourteen priority sectors of cooperation and several BIMSTEC centres have been established to focus on those sectors. Leadership is rotated in alphabetical order of country names. BIMSTEC Permanent Secretariat is at Dhaka was opened in 2014 and India provides 33% (65% of region’s population) of its expenditure. BIMSTEC uses the alphabetical order for the Chairmanship. The Chairmanship of BIMSTEC has been taken in rotation commencing with Bangladesh (1997–1999). Nepal had been the Chairman of BIMSTEC till August 2018. Now Sri Lanka has assumed BIMSTEC chairm since September 1, 2018.
Chair of BIMSTEC since 1997:
|2015- AUG -2018||NEPAL|
|SEPT 2018-||SRI LANKA|
On June 6, 1997, a new sub-regional grouping was formed in Bangkok under the name BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation). On December 22, 1997 Myanmar became a full member, resulting in the renaming of the grouping to BIMST-EC. In 1998, Nepal became an observer. In February 2004, Nepal and Bhutan became full members. On July 31, 2004, in the first Summit the grouping was renamed as BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation
The 14 main objective of BIMSTEC is technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and southeast Asian countries along the coast of the bay of Bengal. Commerce, Investment, Technology, Tourism, Human Resource Development, Agriculture, Fisheries, Transport and Communication, Textiles, Leather etc. have been included in it. Provide cooperation to one another for the provision of training and research facilities in educational vocational and technical fields. Promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in economic, social, technical and scientific fields of common interest. It also provides help to increase the socio-economic growth of the member countries.