The Hon’ble Prime Minister will participate and lead the Bhutanese delegation to the Third Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Summit, which is being convened on 04 March 2014 in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar. The delegation will include the Minister for Foreign Affairs Lyonpo Rinzin Dorje, Foreign Secretary and other senior government officials. The Summit will be preceded by the 14th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting and the 16th Senior Officials Meeting.
The BIMSTEC Summit is usually held every two years and attended by the Head of State/Government from the seven BIMSTEC countries i.e. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The last Summit was held in New Delhi in 2008. Myanmar is the current Chair of BIMSTEC.
The Summit and its preceding meetings will review the progress achieved in the fourteen areas of cooperation identified under the BIMSTEC framework pertaining to Trade & Investment, Technology, Energy, Transport & Communication, Tourism, Fisheries, Agriculture, Cultural Cooperation, Environment & Disaster Management, Public Health, People-to-people contact, Poverty Alleviation and Counter-Terrorism & Transnational Crimes.
One of the main outcomes of the Summit and a historic milestone for the Organization will be the signing of the Memorandum of Association on the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Permanent Secretariat and the appointment of the first Secretary General. This is expected to facilitate and add impetus to the work of the organization. The BIMSTEC Permanent Secretariat is to be established at Dhaka, Bangladesh. Ambassador Sumit Nakandala from Sri Lanka is the Secretary General-designate.
The other documents expected to be signed at the Summit is the (a) Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Cultural Industries Observatory (BCIO) and the BIMSTEC Cultural Industries Commission (BCIC) in Paro, Bhutan. The BCIO and the BCIC is expected to promote Cultural Industries as a strategy for poverty reduction and community vitalization in the BIMSTEC region and the (b) Memorandum of Association on the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Weather and Climate Centre in India. The Centre is expected to promote regional cooperation on disaster risk reduction and management among Members. It would also enable member countries to pool their scientific resources and to benefit from weather forecasting, as well as, share expertise in remote sensing for agriculture, environment and disaster management.
During the Summit the Hon’ble Prime Minister will hold bilateral talks with the leaders of other BIMSTEC member states to discuss bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. He will also meet with the President and other leaders of the Government of the Union of Myanmar on the 5th of March 2014,
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), was formed on 6 June 1997 to enhance economic cooperation between the countries of Southeast Asia and South Asia around the Bay of Bengal. It is a regional grouping that encompasses about 1.3 billion people and a GDP of USD $ 750 billion. Bhutan became a member of BIMSTEC in 2004.