• IASbaba
  • June 9, 2022
  • 0
International Relations
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In News: June 6 marked the completion of 25 years since the 1997 Bangkok Declaration launched a grouping BIMSTEC

What is BIMSTEC?

  • 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. Nepal, Bhutan and Myanmar joined the grouping later
  • The BIMSTEC Secretariat is in Dhaka.

Institutional Mechanisms:

  • BIMSTEC Summit
  • Ministerial Meeting
  • Senior Officials’ Meeting
  • BIMSTEC Working Group
  • Business Forum & Economic Forum

Key achievements

  • It has crafted a new Charter for itself, spelling out the grouping’s vision, functions and has secured a legal personality.
  • It has prioritized the sectors of cooperation with each member-state serving as the lead country for the assigned sector
  • Survival through the turns and twists of internal tensions: influx of over a million Rohingya refugees, Military coup in Myanmar and political and economic crisis afflicting Sri Lanka
  • Unlike SAARC and IORA, BIMSTEC has continued to hold its summits and meetings of Foreign Ministers and it has now resolved to hold regular summits once in two years
  • The grouping has also registered progress in combating terrorism, forging security cooperation, and creating mechanisms and practices for the better management of humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
  • Institutions such as an Energy Centre and the Centre on Weather and Climate are in place to push sectoral cooperation forward.

The faultlines

  • A major failure relates to the continuing inability to produce a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) 18 years after the signing of the Framework Agreement.
  • Connectivity: Only limited progress has been achieved so far, despite the adoption of the Master Plan for Connectivity supported by the Asian Development Bank (ADB).
  • Access to financial resources: For greater regional connectivity, more financial resources are needed. The movement towards establishing the BIMSTEC Development Fund is minimal.
  • The grouping has talked about the Blue Economy but is yet to begin any work on it.

Way Ahead

In this Indo-Pacific century, BIMSTEC has the potential to play a pivotal role, deepening linkages between South Asia and Southeast Asia. It should accelerate the region’s economic development by collaborating with the newly minted Indo-Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). New synergy should be created between BIMSTEC and the IPEF.

Previous Year Questions

Q.1) In the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation, an initiative of six countries, which of the following is/are not a participant/ participants? (2015)

  1. Bangladesh
  2. Cambodia
  3. China
  4. Myanmar
  5. Thailand

Which of the statements given above is/are correct?

  1. 1 only
  2. 2, 3 and 4
  3. 1 and 3
  4. 1, 2 and 5

Source: The Hindu

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