Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)

    Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization comprising five South Asian (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bhutan) and two South East Asian countries (Myanmar and Thailand).

    The sub-regional organization came into being on 6th June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration for the sake of boosting economic cooperation among the member countries. In the beginning, BIMSTEC was created as Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation (BISTEC). It was renamed BIMSTEC only after Myanmar joined the organization on 22 December 1997.

    Nepal was granted observer status of BIMSTEC in December 1998 during its second Ministerial Meeting held in Dhaka. Ultimately, Nepal and Bhutan collectively joined the organization on 31 July 2004. Its secretariat is located in Dhaka.

    Objectives of BIMSTEC

    The followings are the objectives of BIMSTEC

      • To create an enabling environment for rapid economic development through identification and implementation of specific cooperation projects in diverse sectors.
      • To accelerate the economic growth and social progress in the sub-region through joint endeavors in a spirit of equality and partnership.
      • To promote active collaboration and mutual assistance on matters of common interest in the economic, social, technical, and scientific fields.
      • To provide assistance to each other in the form of training and research facilities in the educational, professional, and technical spheres.
      • To cooperate more effectively in joint efforts that are supportive of and complementary to national development plans of member countries that bring tangible benefits to the people in raising their living standards, including generating employment and improving transportation and communication infrastructure.
      • To maintain close and beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organizations with similar aims and purposes.
      • To cooperate in projects that can be dealt with most productively on sub-regional basis and make the best use of available synergies among member countries.
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    BIMSTEC Areas of Cooperation

      1. Technology, science, and innovation
      1. Energy
      1. Transport and communication
      1. Tourism
      1. Fisheries
      1. Agriculture
      1. Cultural cooperation
      1. Environment and disaster management
      1. Public health
      1. People-to-people contact
      1. Poverty alleviation
      1. Counter-terrorism and transnational crime
      1. Climate change

    What are the Guiding Principles of BIMSTEC?

      • Cooperation within BIMSTEC will be based on respect for the principle of sovereign equality, territorial integrity, political independence, non-interference in internal affairs, peaceful co-existence, and mutual benefit.
      • Cooperation within BIMSTEC will constitute an addition to and not be a substitute for bilateral, regional or multilateral cooperation involving the member states.

    Nepal and BIMSTEC

    After obtaining observer status in 1998, Nepal started participating in various BIMSTEC ministerial and other meetings. The first summit meeting of BIMSTEC held on 31 July 2004 granted Nepal, along with Bhutan, full-fledged membership of the organization.

    Nepal signed the BIMSTEC Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime, and Illicit Drug Trafficking on 11 December 2009. Nepal hosted the Second BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting on Poverty Alleviation in Kathmandu in January 2012 which adopted Kathmandu Declaration and BIMSTEC Poverty Plan of Action.

    Furthermore, Nepal hosted the Fourth BIMSTEC Summit in Kathmandu in August 2018. Likewise, it also hosted the Tenth Meeting of the BIMSTEC Sub-Group on Anti-Money Laundering and Combating the Financing of Terrorism. BIMSTEC can play a vital role for Nepal to approach the sea. The organization can be a forum for more fruitful interactions with other member countries on issues of economic interests.

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