BIMSTEC summit concludes with pledge for economic, strategic integration

India on Thursday asserted that the fourth BIMSTEC Summit being held here will have 'landmark' achievements for the regional grouping.

Published: 31st August 2018 12:48 PM  |   Last Updated: 01st September 2018 08:19 AM   |  A+A-

BIMSTEC Summit

Standing left to right are Myanmar's first lady Daw Cho Cho, wife of Nepalese Prime Minister Radhika Shakya, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Nepal's Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, Myanmar's President Win Myint, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice and Chief Advisor of the interim government of Bhutan Dasho Tshering Wangchuk and Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina as they pose for a group photo during the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit in Kathmandu, Nepal. | AP

Express News Service

KATHMANDU: The fourth BIMSTEC summit concluded in Kathmandu on Friday with leaders of the regional grouping pledging to reinvigorate the process of economic and strategic integration. Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli handed over the chairmanship of the seven-member grouping to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena after releasing the draft of the Kathmandu declaration, which was unanimously adopted by the member states. According to Oli, the declaration eloquently captured the collective wisdom, thought and vision of a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal region.

Launched in 1997, the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation comprises Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Together, these nations are home to around 1.5 billion people, or 22 per cent of the global population, with a combined GDP of $ 2.7 trillion. However, conflicting priorities and divergent interests among the member states have blocked the grouping from achieving its aim of regional economic, political and cultural integration. 

Prime Minister Narendra Modi met Oli to review bilateral relations and witnessed the signing of an MoU on a preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey on a broad gauge line between Raxaul and Kathmandu, after which the two leaders jointly inaugurated the 400-bed Nepal-Bharat Maitri Pashupati Dharmashala at Kathmandu. Modi also met the Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-cha, the President of Myanmar, Win Myint, and Lyonpo Tshering Wangchuk, chief advisor of the Bhutan government.

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