17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting
#GS2 India and its Neighbourhood Groupings & Agreements
- 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.
To further build the momentum of regional cooperation under the BIMSTEC framework and make the organization stronger, vibrant, more effective, and result-oriented.
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 the economic integration of the region with smooth cross-border movement of people and goods.
The 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 the Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal matters, cooperation between diplomatic and training academies, and establishment of the 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.
- 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 organization to some extent as it could not develop a common charter.
Secretariat: Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Source: The Hindu