India hands over BIMSTEC chair to Myanmar

December 11th, 2009 - 4:05 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Dec 11 (IANS) Handing over the chairmanship of BIMSTEC to Myanmar, India Friday said the seven-nation organisation is “a bridge” linking South and Southeast Asia with India’s northeastern states and underlined the need for greater regional economic integration.
“We see BIMSTEC as an important vehicle to promote regional cooperation and economic integration in a range of areas,” External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna said in the Myanmar capital Nay Pyi Taw while handing over the chairmanship of BIMSTEC to his Myanmarese counterpart U. Nyan Win.

“We also see BIMSTEC as a bridge linking South and South East Asia with the North East region of our country,” he said at the 12th ministerial meeting of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral, Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).

India is pushing for greater trade and connectivity between the seven countries comprising BIMSTEC and its northeastern states.

BIMSTEC comprises seven countries which ring the Bay of Bengal namely India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka and Thailand. India hosted the second BIMSTEC summit last year.

Underlining India’s commitment to bolstering cooperation with the BIMSTEC region, Krishna called for more collaborative efforts to reap full dividends of intra-regional cooperation.

“We would like to see BIMSTEC develop as a vibrant organisation. For the last three years of our chairmanship of BIMSTEC, we have been striving towards this goal,” he said.

BIMSTEC has identified 14 areas of cooperation which include health, energy, technology, human resource development, trade, tourism and culture.

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