Prime Minister Narendra Modi today made a clear call to make the Bay of Bengal the bridge of connectivity, prosperity and security and stressed that regional cooperation has become a higher priority in the current scenario.
Attending the BIMSTEC summit virtually, the prime minister said recent developments in Europe have raised questions about the stability of the international order. He said that it has become important to make BIMSTEC regional cooperation more active. He pointed out that the region has not remained untouched by today’s difficult global scenario.
Mr. Modi said that the BIMSTEC charter is being adopted to develop the institutional architecture of the BIMSTEC group. This is the 25th year of the creation of BIMSTEC. He said that the outcome of this historic summit will write a golden chapter in the history of BIMSTEC.
The Prime Minister stressed the importance of strengthening the capacity of the BIMSTEC Secretariat to meet everyone’s expectations. He suggested that a roadmap be drawn up to achieve this objective. He said that India would provide financial assistance of one million dollars to increase the operating budget of the Secretariat.
The prime minister said there was a need to move quickly on the proposed BIMSTEC free trade agreement to boost trade. He said that exchanges between entrepreneurs and startups from BIMSTEC countries should be intensified. He added that international standards should be adopted in the area of trade facilitation.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization. Established in 1997, it comprises seven member states – India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand located in and adjacent to the Bay of Bengal.