Home World News Jaishankar Urges BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers To Infuse New Energies and New Commitment

Jaishankar Urges BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers To Infuse New Energies and New Commitment

BIMSTEC meeting
External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar with Foreign Ministers of BIMSTEC countries in New Delhi, at the 2nd BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers’ Retreat.

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar today urged representatives of BIMSTEC member countries to show determination in infusing new energies, new resources and a new commitment for cooperation.

BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) is a regional organization that connects countries around the Bay of Bengal to promote economic growth, trade, and cooperation in areas like transportation, energy, and counter-terrorism.

In his opening remarks at the second BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers’ Retreat (July 11-12) in New Delhi on Thursday, Jaishankar welcomed the guests and emphasized the significance of the ongoing two- day meeting. “Global and regional developments also make it imperative that we find more solutions amongst ourselves,” he said.

He said that this meeting serves to prepare strong outcomes for the Summit to be held later in the year. “Our message should be clear – that we are all determined to infuse new energies, new resources and a new commitment into cooperation among the Bay of Bengal nations.’’

He said, ” The retreat is meant to exchange ideas openly, candidly and fruitfully. We all benefited from the last such exercise in Bangkok. A grouping that is so complementary and so congenial in its membership should surely harbour higher aspirations. Our hope is that these should be expressed as Shared Ambitious BIMSTEC Vision.’’

He further said that long standing goals such as capacity building and economic cooperation, have acquired a new urgency.

He said, ” For India, BIMSTEC represents the intersection of the ‘Neighbourhood First’ outlook, the ‘Act East Policy’ and the ‘SAGAR’ vision. Each of these endeavours is being purposed with a specific focus on the Bay of Bengal, where collaborative potential has long remained under realised,”

He said that the BIMSTEC Charter, for a start, has come into effect from 20 May this year. Global and regional developments also make it imperative that we find more solutions amongst ourselves.”

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He added, “Our discussions, in the first part, will revolve around connectivity, institutional building, cooperation in trade and business, collaboration in health and space, digital public infrastructure, capacity building and societal exchanges, as well as weighing on the merits of new mechanisms.”

The retreat is a platform for exchanging ideas and fostering deeper cooperation across various domains including connectivity, trade, health, and digital infrastructure.

The first edition of the BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers’ Retreat was held in Bangkok, Thailand on July 17, 2023. “Much has happened since that and this should spur our endeavours to deepen and broaden the activities of the BIMSTEC,” the External Affairs Minister added.

Jaishankar invited suggestions from representatives of BIMSTEC member countries on how to take BIMSTEC forward. “I hope in the second part of our deliberations, we could focus more sharply on the possible outcomes of the forthcoming Summit. These discussions would be led by our Thai colleague as the BIMSTEC Chair and the host of the Summit.”

Foreign ministers and top officials from BIMSTEC nations, including Thailand’s Foreign Minister Maris Sangiampongsa, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Hasan Mahmud, Nepal’s Foreign Secretary Sewa Lamsal, Bhutan’s Foreign Minister DN Dhungyel, state Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka Tharaka Balasuriya and Myanmar’s Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister U Than Swe are participating in the retreat.

The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said that the Retreat will present an opportunity for the Foreign Ministers of BIMSTEC nations to discuss avenues to broaden and deepen cooperation in various sectors, including security, connectivity, trade and investment, people-to-people contacts, etc in the Bay of Bengal region and littoral.

BIMSTEC aims to strengthen relationships and foster economic development among its member states, which include- Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand. Each member nation leads specific sectors, reflecting their expertise and commitment to collective advancement.

BIMSTEC also emphasises cooperation with international and regional organizations, aligning its goals with global development agendas to maximize impact.