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More cooperation among BIMSTEC nations is the need of the hour: PM Modi

New Delhi, March 30 (Agency)

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday said the war between Russia and Ukraine has put a question mark on the stability of the international order. Simultaneously, Modi called for enhanced cooperation among BIMSTEC member states, saying that it has become necessary to give more priority to “our regional security”. In his inaugural address at the fifth summit of the ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (BIMSTEC) held digitally, Modi said unity and cooperation were the need of the hour amidst the challenges of health and security in the region. Huh. “Today is the time to make the Bay of Bengal a bridge of connectivity, prosperity and security,” he said. Prime Minister Modi said that India will provide one million US dollars as support to augment the operational budget of the BIMSTEC Secretariat. He said that the region is not untouched by today’s challenging global scenario. “Our economies, our people are still grappling with the impact of the COVID-19 pandemic,” he said. Referring to the Ukraine-Russia war, Modi said developments in Europe in the past few weeks “put a question mark on the stability of the international order”. “In this context, it has become imperative that BIMSTEC regional cooperation be made more active,” he said. Modi said that it has become necessary to give more priority to our regional security. He said that the adoption of the BIMSTEC Charter at the Summit is an important step towards establishing the institutional framework.

The Prime Minister said that the outcome of the historic summit would write a golden chapter in the history of BIMSTEC. Modi said that it is also necessary to increase the capacity of BIMSTEC Secretariat to meet our expectations. He suggested to the BIMSTEC Secretary General to prepare a roadmap to achieve this goal. The Prime Minister said that it is necessary to move forward on the BIMSTEC FTA proposal to increase mutual trade among BIMSTEC member countries. “There is also a need to increase exchanges between entrepreneurs and startups of our countries. Along with this, we should also adopt international rules in the field of trade cooperation. Modi underlined that the ‘BIMSTEC Center for Weather and Climate’ is an important organization for cooperation in disaster management. He said that there should be cooperation between BIMSTEC countries to make it more active. The Prime Minister said that India is ready to give 3 million dollars to restart the work of this centre. Apart from India, BIMSTEC includes Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan. The Summit will adopt the ‘BIMSTEC Charter’, through which the group will get an international identity and the basic institutional structure will be created for its functioning. BIMSTEC, a group of countries with 21.7 percent of the world’s population and a GDP of $38 trillion, has emerged as an effective platform for economic progress.

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