India sees ‘virtue’ in Bay of Bengal grouping BIMSTEC

  • Senior Correspondent,
    Published: 2019-07-24 22:08:21 BdST

India’s new External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has advocated for investment of more energy into regional initiative by the member states of BIMSTEC and said New Delhi sees “virtue” in the Bay of Bengal grouping.

He also acknowledged the ongoing activities of BIMSTEC and hoped that “with streamlining of activities, BIMSTEC will be able to deliver more results in near future”.

He made the comments when BIMSTEC Secretary General M Shahidul Islam called on him in New Delhi on Tuesday, the secretariat in Dhaka said on Wednesday.

They discussed issues pertaining to BIMSTEC. Jaishankar reiterated India's strong commitment to the BIMSTEC process.

BIMSTEC is an intergovernmental platform that brings together seven countries from South and Southeast Asia to strengthen economic and physical connectivity among the countries of the Bay of Bengal region.

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand are the members of this initiative.

Jaishankar said with India's focus on neighbourhood and especially towards East, BIMSTEC will remain “a key priority” for his country.

He emphasised the historical and cultural linkages that BIMSTEC member states share and said that India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi is a strong advocate of collective prosperity of all countries of the Bay of Bengal region.

The BIMSTEC secretary general briefed the minister on the initiatives taken by the BIMSTEC Secretariat towards fulfillment of the directives of the BIMSTEC leaders given in the Fourth BIMSTEC Summit held in Kathmandu Nepal in August 2018.

He emphasised the need to hold sectoral meetings more regularly and complete the ongoing review and rationalisation of sectors of cooperation to bring focus in BIMSTEC‘s work.

He also invited the Indian minister to visit BIMSTEC Secretariat during his future visit to Bangladesh.