What is BIMSTEC? (Fact File)

November 13th, 2008 - 9:29 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Nov 13 (IANS) The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) held its second summit here Thursday. Here are the basic facts about the grouping:- The BIMSTEC is a seven-nation regional grouping comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. It acts as a bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia and promotes intra-regional cooperation in dealing with trans-national challenges ranging from terrorism, energy and food security to climate change and disaster management.

- The BIMSTEC was founded on June 6, 1997. It was initially called BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation). The name was changed to BIMST-EC after Myanmar joined the organization as a full member at a special ministerial meeting held in Bangkok Dec 22, 1997. Nepal and Bhutan became its members in 2003.

- Thailand hosted the first summit in Bangkok on July 31, July 2004. The leaders of the group agreed that it should be known as The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. New Delhi hosted the second summit Nov 13, 2008.

- Seven members of BIMSTEC have identified 13 priority sectors for intra-regional cooperation. These are: trade and investment, technology, energy, transport and communication, tourism, fisheries, agriculture, cultural cooperation, environment and disaster management, public health, people-to-people contract, poverty alleviation and counter-terrorism and transnational crimes.

Membership: Countries seeking membership should satisfy the conditions of territorial contiguity to, or direct opening into, or primary dependence on the Bay of Bengal for trade and transportation purposes.

Chairmanship: BIMSTEC uses the alphabetical order for the chairmanship. India is the current chair (2006-present). In 2009, Myanmar will host the 12th Ministerial Meeting and assume the chairmanship.

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