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BIMSTEC

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December 22, 2023

Why in News?

India recently seconded a senior diplomat to drive BIMSTEC as its 4th Secretary-General (SG).

What is BIMSTEC?

  • BIMSTEC – Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.
  • It is a regional organization group of littoral countries encircling the Bay of Bengal with own flag and emblem.
  • Established in1997 with the signing of the Bangkok Declaration.
  • The year 2022 marked the 25th anniversary of BISTEC formation.
  • Secretariat at – Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • Aim – To foster economic and social development among member countries.
  • Members7 members (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand).
  • Thus, it includes 5 members from SAARC and 2 from ASEAN.

BIMSTEC was initially known as BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Thailand- Economic cooperation) before the joining of Myanmar (1997), Bhutan (2004) and Nepal (2004).

  • BIMSTEC Charter – It was signed and adopted during the fifth BIMSTEC Summit in Sri Lanka in 2022.

BIMSTEC

What are the purposes of BIMSTEC?

  • Accelerating economic growth - Promote joint endeavours, trade and investment.
  • Increasing collaboration – On matters of common interest in the economic, social, technical and scientific fields.
  • Improving assistance – In the form of training and research facilities in the educational, professional and technical spheres.
  • Effective cooperation – Maintain beneficial cooperation with existing international and regional organizations.
  • Maintaining peace and stability – By close collaboration in combating international terrorism, transnational organized crimes as well as natural disasters, climate change and communicable diseases.
  • Improving social progress – Promoting endeavour to eradicate poverty from the Bay of Bengal region.
  • Developing connectivity – Creating synergy among connectivity frameworks in the region, as a key enabler to economic integration for shared prosperity.

What are the various BIMSTEC Centres?

  • BIMSTEC Energy Centre (BEC) – It is to be housed in the premises of the Central Power Research Institute in Bengaluru, India.
  • It will also function as the Secretariat of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection Coordination Committee.
  • BIMSTEC Centre on Weather and Climate - It is located in the National Centre for Medium Range Weather Forecasting (NCMRWF) in Uttar Pradesh, India.
  • BIMSTEC Cultural Industries Observatory – In 2006, it was proposed for the establishment of BIMSTEC Cultural Industries Commission (BCIC) and the BIMTEC Cultural Industries Observatory (BCIO) in Bhutan.
  • BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility – The Memorandum of Association (MoA) on the establishment was signed in 2022 during the 5th BIMSTEC Summit but its entry into force is awaited.

What are the shortcomings?

  • It has decided not to go-ahead with the BIMSTEC Development Fund.
  • Negotiation of the BIMSTEC FTA is yet to be completed.
  • BIMSTEC grid connectivity and energy projects are yet to take off.
  • While the connectivity plan is ready, the real implementation is yet to start.
  • The postponement of the 6th Summit has slowed BIMSTEC integration.

What lies ahead?

  • 6th BIMSTEC summit under the chairmanship of Thailand will be held in 2024 with promising features like
    • Adoption of the BIMSTEC Rules of Procedure
    • Adoption of the BIMSTEC Maritime Cooperation Agreement (BMCA)
    • Launching of BIMSTEC Bangkok Vision 2030

Bangladesh is going to take over the chairmanship of BIMSTEC from Thailand once the 6th Summit is over.

References

  1. The Hindu Business Line| Regional cooperation in BIMSTEC
  2. BIMSTEC| Purposes of BIMSTEC
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