New Delhi (NVI): Driven by its ‘Act East’ policy, India today expressed “keen desire” to forge deep relations with BIMSTEC nations even as it hosted the first-ever “conclave of ports” of the international organisation at Vishakhapatnam from November 7 to 8.
India attaches great importance to the Bay of Bengal initiatives for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) which links five countries from South Asia (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal) and two from South East Asia (Myanmar & Thailand).
In the conclave, three Memoranda of Understanding (MoUs) were also signed between Ranong Port (Port Authority of Thailand), Port Trusts of Chennai, Vishakhapatnam and Kolkata, which will contribute to BIMSTEC objectives of strengthening connectivity and is part of India’s Act East Policy, an official statement said.
It will also enhance the connectivity between ports on Thailand’s West Coast and Ports on India’s East Coast that are Chennai, Vishakhapatnam and Kolkata and the economic partnership by cutting down the sea travel time between India and Thailand from 10- 15 days to 7 days.
The BIMSTEC region brings together 167 billion people together 22% of the world population and a combined GDP of US $3.71 Trillion. So far, four BIMSTEC Summits have been held, said the statement.
Inaugurating the conclave of Ports, the Minister of State for Shipping Mansukh Mandaviya cited “Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of SAGAR (Security and Growth for All in the Region) and highlighted the motto of “Sabka Saath Sabka Vikas (Collective Efforts Inclusive Growth)” that provides Peace, Prosperity and Security for all in the Region.”
The Minister also expressed that India is keen on forging deep relations with BIMSTEC Member States, adding that, “The first BIMSTEC Conclave of Ports will go a long way in promoting the same.”
The conclave aims at providing a platform to strengthen maritime interaction, port-led connectivity initiatives and sharing best practices among member countries. Providing Connectivity is one of the key priorities among BIMSTEC countries.
Andhra Pradesh’s Minister of Tourism, Culture and Youth Advancement M S Rao and the Minister of Industry, Commerce and Information Technology MG Reddy along with Member of Parliament from Vishakhapatnam M.V.V. Satyanarayana were present at the Conclave.