India to lead security pillar of BIMSTEC; PM pitches for focus on regional security

India has been making concerted efforts to make BIMSTEC a vibrant forum for regional cooperation as initiatives under SAARC were not moving forward for a variety of reasons.

Published: 30th March 2022 08:42 PM  |   Last Updated: 31st March 2022 01:21 AM   |  A+A-

PM Modi.

PM Modi. (Photo | Twitter)

Express News Service

NEW DELHI: The seven countries in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) today adopted a charter and connectivity roadmap and entrusted India to be at the helm of its security pillar.

"With the charter, Bimstec now has an international personality, it has an emblem, it has a flag, it has formally listed purpose and principles that it is going to adhere to and an architecture. So that represents a fairly significant evolution of this grouping process which was happening since 2004, but gained traction after 2014," said additional secretary Bimstec, Rudrendra Tandon. 

The course of signing the charter is the most important outcome, in line with this development of the organisation into a formal structure , was the approval granted by leaders to a complete reorganisation of Bimstec cooperation activities. This is the 25th year of the establishment of Bimstec.

"Henceforth Bimstec cooperation activities will take place in seven pillars, each pillar will be led by one of the member states, who will primarily be responsible for furthering cooperation. In that reorganisation, it was decided that India will lead the security pillar," said Tandon.

India has been making conscious efforts of making Bimstec a vibrant regional forum and security, counter terrorism are issues that it feels needs to be addressed collectively.

"The recent developments in Europe has raised questions about the stability of the international order. In this context, it has become a greater priority to have regional cooperation," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said during the 5th Bimstec Summit. 

Bimstec comprises of seven nations- India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand that brings together 1.5 billion people which comprises 21 per cent of the world population and a combined GDP of over $2.5 trillion.

PM Modi announced a $ 1 million ad-hoc grant for the operational budget for the BIMSTEC secretariat and another $ 3 million assistance to revive the grouping’s centre for weather and climate.

The group has finalised three documents that will facilitate having a Mutual Legal Assistance Treaty (MLAT), setting up a centre for technology transfer in Colombo and providing for cooperation among diplomatic academies of the member nations.

"The theme of this summit was towards a resilient region, prosperous economies and healthy people," said Additional Secretary Bimstec, Rudrendra Tandon.

PM Modi spoke about the need to move forward the connectivity agenda, the disaster management agenda, the marine cooperation agenda, the economic integration agenda, and security agenda – which is an essential prerequisite for any sort of constructive economic and development cooperation.

Adoption of the master plan on transport connectivity was a major outcome of the summit. Besides, main preoccupations that currently prevail in the top leadership in the region centred around prosperity, resilience and public health.

PM Modi announced a $1 million ad hoc grant to the Bimstec Secretariats operational budget and a $3 million grant to revive the Bimstec Centre for Weather and Climate – which is an important part of the disaster management, disaster risk reduction agenda.

India Matters


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