4th BIMSTEC Summit held in Kathmandu on 30-31 August, 2018

On August 30-31, 2018, the 4th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Summit was held for days in Kathmandu, Nepal.

4th BIMSTEC SummitHighlights:
i. Nepal is the current chair of the BIMSTEC.
ii. According to the agenda:

  • on August 28, a ministerial meeting was held,
  • on August 29, 2018, the 16th ministerial meeting of BIMSTEC and
  • on August 30-31, Heads of State and government of seven member-states met.

iii. The theme of the 4th meeting was : “Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous and Sustainable Bay of Bengal Region”.
iv. The Nepalese Prime Minister handed over the chairmanship of BIMSTEC to the President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena.

19th Special meeting of Senior Officials of BIMSTEC held in Kathmandu
On August 28, 2018, 19th Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) of the BIMSTEC was held in Kathmandu, Nepal.
i. The meeting was organized as part of preparations for the 4th BIMSTEC Summit.
ii. Senior officers from all member states and Secretary General of BIMSTEC attended the meeting.
iii. The following took place in the meeting:

  • Establishment of BIMSTEC Permanent Working Committee to deal with administrative and financial matters of the Secretariat and the BIMSTEC Centers and Entities.
  • It would also prepare schedule of meetings, prioritize and rationalize the organization’s activities.
  • Establishment of a BIMSTEC Development Fund (BDF) with contributions from the Member States.
  • It would be utilized for research and planning of BIMSTEC and financing of projects, programmes and other activities of BIMSTEC Centers.
  • The proposed draft of the Kathmandu Declaration of the 4th Summit was also discussed.

4th BIMSTEC summit:
On August 31, 2018, the fourth BIMSTEC summit was held in Kathmandu.
i. Prime Minister of Nepal K.P Sharma Oli chaired the meeting.
ii. The leaders of all seven member states of BIMSTEC were present.
iii. The following events took place in the meeting:

  • The Prime Minister of Nepal K.P. Sharma Oli presented draft Kathmandu declaration which was unanimously adopted by the all member states.
  • The Kathmandu Declaration focuses on the following Sectors:

Poverty Alleviation:

  • Ending poverty from the region by 2030 in line with the United Nations Sustainable Development Goals by implementation of the BIMSTEC Poverty Plan of Action.

Transport and Communication:

  • To achieve enhanced connectivity, working of BIMSTEC Master Plan on Transport Connectivity with the aid of ADB by the BIMSTEC Transport Connectivity Working Group(BTCWG).
  • Establishment of a Working Group to deal with information technology and communications and
  • Welcoming India’s proposal to host a BIMSTEC Ministerial Conclave at the India Mobile Congress 2018 in New Delhi from October 25-27, 2018.

Trade and Investments:

  • Work on BIMSTEC Business Forum and BIMSTEC Economic Forum to further strengthen Government–Private sector cooperation for the promotion of trade and investment.
  • Work on BIMSTEC Visa Matters
  • Welcome India’s proposal to host a BIMSTEC Startup Conclave in December 2018.

Counter Terrorism:

  • Signing of the BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.
  • Decision to hold meetings at the level of BIMSTEC Home Ministers,
  • Welcome the offer of Thailand to host the Third Meeting of the BIMSTEC National Security Chiefs in March 2019.

Environment and Disaster Management:

  • Establishment of an Inter-governmental Expert Group to develop a plan of action to improve preparedness and coordination for responding to natural disasters in the Bay of Bengal Region.

Climate Change:

  • To establish an Inter-governmental Expert Group to develop a plan of action for collective response to climate change.

Energy:

  • Signing of establishment of BIMSTEC Grid Interconnectionto enhance energy cooperation among the member states.

Techonology:

  • Signing of the Memorandum of Association on the Establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility in Sri Lanka.

Agriculture:

Welcome Myanmar’s offer to host the 1st BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting on Agriculture by 2019 & the offer of India to host the BIMSTEC Seminar on Climate Smart Farming Systems in 2019.

People-to-People Contacts:

  • Encouraging BIMSTEC Network of Policy Think Tanks (BNPTT) in enhancing public awareness about BIMSTEC

Cultural Cooperation:

  • Decision to hold BIMSTEC Cultural Ministers and BIMSTEC Cultural Festival meeting
  • Welcoming Bangladesh’s offer to the 2nd BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting on Culture and 1st BIMSTEC Cultural Festival.

Tourism:

  • Decision to develop and promote Buddhist Tourist Circuit, Temple Tourist Circuit, ancient cities trail, eco-tourism and medical tourism and
  • Welcoming Nepal’s offer to host a BIMSTEC tourism conclave in Nepalin 2020, coinciding with the Visit Nepal Year 2020.

Blue Economy:

  • Acknowledging hosting of International Blue Economy Conference in Bangladesh in 2017.

India’s participation:

  • India to enhance its National Knowledge Network in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan, and Nepal, in the field of digital connectivity.
  • India to host  International Buddhist Conclave 2020  in August 2020.
  • India announced establishment of the Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies at Nalanda University for research on arts, culture, maritime laws and other subjects.

Other News:
i. India and Other member nations:

  • With Bangladesh : to boost economic as well as cultural relations.
  • With Sri Lanka: India-Sri Lanka friendship.
  • With Thailand: on strengthening bilateral cooperation between India and Thailand.
  • With Myanmar: on accelerating cooperation between India and Myanmar.

ii. PM Modi and Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli jointly inaugurated the Nepal Bharat Maitri Dharmashala at the Pashupatinath temple complex.
iii. Indian Government has given assistance of 22 crore Nepali rupees.

About BIMSTEC:
♦ Full Form: The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.
♦ It has as members seven nations of South Asia and Southeast Asia — Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal.
♦ Headquarters: Dhaka, Bangladesh.
♦ Founded: 6th June 1997.

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