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.
- BIMSTEC Summit
- Ministerial Meeting
- Senior Officials’ Meeting
- BIMSTEC Working Group
- Business Forum & Economic Forum
- 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.
- 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.
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)
Which of the statements given above is/are correct?
- 1 only
- 2, 3 and 4
- 1 and 3
- 1, 2 and 5
Source: The Hindu
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