New Delhi: Bay of Bengal should be converted into a bridge of connectivity, prosperity and security, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said today as he addressed 5th Summit of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).
The Summit of 7-nation grouping, comprising India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand, was hosted in virtual mode by Sri Lanka, the current chair of organisation.
Modi underscored the importance of enhanced BIMSTEC regional connectivity, cooperation and security, and made several suggestions in this regard.
He called upon fellow leaders to strive to transform Bay of Bengal into a Bridge of Connectivity, Prosperity, and Security among the BIMSTEC-member countries.
The Summit’s theme ‘Towards a Resilient Region, Prosperous Economies, Healthy People’ captures the main current priorities of member states, and the efforts by BIMSTEC to develop cooperation activities that support member state’s programmes to deal with the economic and development consequences of the Covid-19 pandemic.
The Summit saw considerable progress being achieved in the BIMSTEC connectivity agenda with the adoption of the ‘Master Plan for Transport Connectivity’ by Leaders which lays out a guidance framework for connectivity-related activities in the region in the future.
The main outcome of the Summit was the adoption and signing of the BIMSTEC Charter, which formalizes the grouping into an organization made up of members states that are littoral to, and dependent upon, the Bay of Bengal.
Prime Minister Modi along with other leaders also witnessed the signing of three BIMSTEC agreements which represent progress being achieved in ongoing cooperation activities.
These are BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters; BIMSTEC Memorandum of Understanding on Mutual Cooperation in the field of Diplomatic Training and Memorandum of Association on Establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility.
Prior to the Summit, preparatory meetings at the Senior Official and Foreign Minister levels were held in Colombo on 28th and 29th March in the hybrid mode.