August 11, 2017
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) ministerial meeting was inaugurated in Nepal on Thursday with a focus on concluding key deals related to BIMSTEC member countries.
In his inaugural address, Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba urged BIMSTEC member countries to focus on physical and digital connectivity for achieving economic development.
He called upon BIMSTEC member countries to “give due attention to the needs of its members” towards forming an effective regional grouping for environmentally-sustainable growth.
The Nepal Minister for Foreign Affairs Krishna Bahadur Mahara called for early finalisation of BIMSTEC Master Plan for Connectivity, effective and early operationalization of the BIMSTEC Energy Centre and conclusion of MoU on BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection.
Mahara also emphasized on agreements related to trade facilitation, customs and investment dispute settlement.
Briefing outcomes of the meeting, Shankar Das Bairagi, Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) informed that the member states sought early finalisation of the agreement on BIMSTEC Free Trade Area (FTA) to boost regional trade, energy and technology.
In the meeting, senior officials pitched on the need to focus on core areas of cooperation, including investment, trade, energy, connectivity and tourism.
Meanwhile, Secretary General of BIMSTEC Sumith Nakandala opined that finalisation of some of the critical agreements would foster opportunities to develop BIMSTEC as a vibrant region.
Nepal is chairing the BIMSTEC summit and is planning to host the same within this year.