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India's BIMSTEC alignment boosts regional cooperation

External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has emphasised India’s strategic alignment with the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), highlighting its significance within India's broader geopolitical frameworks such as Neighbourhood First, Act East Policy, and SAGAR vision.

News Arena Network - New Delhi - UPDATED: July 11, 2024, 05:35 AM - 4 mins read

BIMSTEC Retreat: Strengthening Regional Partnerships in India.

India's BIMSTEC alignment boosts regional cooperation

BIMSTEC Retreat: Strengthening Regional Partnerships in India.


External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar has emphasised India’s strategic alignment with the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), highlighting its significance within India's broader geopolitical frameworks such as Neighbourhood First, Act East Policy, and SAGAR vision.

 

Speaking at the BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in New Delhi, Jaishankar stated, "For India, BIMSTEC represents the intersection of its ‘Neighbourhood First’ outlook, the ‘Act East Policy’ and the ‘SAGAR’ vision. Each of these endeavours focuses on the Bay of Bengal, where collaborative potential has long remained under realised.” He stressed the need to change this rapidly and effectively through open and candid exchanges of ideas.

 

The retreat, attended by foreign ministers from BIMSTEC member countries, serves as a platform for exchanging ideas and fostering deeper cooperation across various domains, including connectivity, trade, health, and digital infrastructure.

 

Jaishankar expressed optimism about the outcomes, emphasising the importance of preparing strong results for the upcoming Summit later in the year. He asserted that the message should be clear: “We are all determined to infuse new energies, new resources, and a new commitment into cooperation among the Bay of Bengal nations.”

 

Highlighting recent developments within BIMSTEC, Jaishankar noted that the BIMSTEC Charter came into effect on May 20. He also pointed out the importance of finding solutions among member countries in response to global and regional developments.

 

The first edition of the BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers’ Retreat was held in Bangkok on July 17, 2023. Reflecting on this, Jaishankar remarked, “Much has happened since then, and this should spur our endeavours to deepen and broaden the activities of BIMSTEC.”

 

Jaishankar outlined the next steps for BIMSTEC, indicating that after a presentation by Secretary East, he would invite comments and suggestions from the member states, starting with the BIMSTEC Chair, Thailand.

 

He hoped the second part of the deliberations would focus more sharply on the possible outcomes of the forthcoming Summit. These discussions would be led by the Thai colleague as the BIMSTEC Chair and the host of the Summit.

 

BIMSTEC is a regional organisation that connects countries around the Bay of Bengal to promote economic growth, trade, and cooperation in areas like transportation, energy, and counter-terrorism.

 

It aims to strengthen relationships and foster economic development among its member states, which include Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

 

BIMSTEC stands as a beacon of regional collaboration, striving to achieve rapid economic development and social progress through joint initiatives among its member states.

 

Founded on principles of equality and partnership, BIMSTEC aims to address common challenges and capitalise on shared opportunities across seven strategic sectors. Each member nation leads specific sectors, reflecting their expertise and commitment to collective advancement:

Bangladesh spearheads trade, investment, and development, including the blue economy, leveraging its strategic location and maritime resources. Sri Lanka focuses on science, technology, and innovation, including health and human resource development, fostering advancements in research and human capital.

 

Bhutan leads efforts in environment and climate change, including the mountain economy, emphasising sustainable practices in the face of ecological challenges. India takes charge of security, including energy and disaster management, contributing expertise in disaster preparedness and strategic energy management.

 

Myanmar oversees agriculture and food security, including fisheries and livestock, supporting food sustainability and rural development. Nepal drives people-to-people contact, including poverty alleviation, promoting cultural exchange and poverty reduction initiatives. Thailand leads connectivity efforts, enhancing regional infrastructure and transport networks to facilitate seamless connectivity among member states.

 

BIMSTEC also emphasises cooperation with international and regional organisations, aligning its goals with global development agendas to maximise impact.

 

With a commitment to mutual assistance, joint projects, and capacity building, BIMSTEC seeks to translate its collaborative efforts into tangible benefits that improve living standards and promote inclusive growth across the Bay of Bengal region.

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