FIFTH BIMSTEC SUMMIT
FIFTH BIMSTEC SUMMIT
Why in News?
Recently, the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) grouping’s fifth summit took place in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Host for the Fifth Summit).
- The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organisation comprising seven Member States: five deriving from South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and two from Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Thailand.
- This sub-regional organisation came into being on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
- With 21.7% of the world’s population and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 3.8 trillion, BIMSTEC has emerged as an influential engine of economic growth.
- The BIMSTEC Secretariat is in Dhaka.
Highlights of the Summit
- BIMSTEC charter was signed in this Summit.
- Under this Charter, the members were expected to meet once every two years.
- With the Charter, the BIMSTEC now has an international personality. It has an emblem, it has a flag.
- It has a formally listed purpose and principles that it is going to adhere to.
- In line with the development of the organisation into a formal structure, the leaders of the member-countries have agreed to divide the working of the grouping into seven segments, with India providing leadership to the security pillar.
- Member countries also signed a treaty on mutual legal assistance on criminal matters.
- The summit saw the declaration of the Master Plan for Transport Connectivity that would provide a framework for regional and domestic connectivity.
- A Memorandum of Association (MoA) on the establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility (TTF) in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
- India will provide the (BIMSTEC) secretariat USD 1 million US dollars to increase its operational budget.
There is a need for finalisation of the BIMSTEC Free Trade Agreement among the member countries. As the region is facing challenges of health and economic security and stressed the need for solidarity and cooperation, the FTA will make the Bay of Bengal a bridge of connectivity, a bridge of prosperity, a bridge of security. Apart from this, there is a necessity for coastal shipping ecosystem and electricity grid interconnectivity, as two of the necessary components of the evolving shape of BIMSTEC. India would have to counter the impression that BIMSTEC is an India-dominated bloc, in that context India can follow the Gujral doctrine that intends to chalk out the effect of transactional motive in bilateral relations. With neighbours like Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Nepal and Sri Lanka, India does not ask for reciprocity but gives and accommodates what it can in good faith and trust. No South Asian country should allow its territory to be used against the interest of another country of the region. No country should interfere in the internal affairs of another. All South Asian countries must respect each other’s territorial integrity and sovereignty. They should settle all their disputes through peaceful bilateral negotiations.
BEST IAS ACADEMY IN COIMBATORE