The seven-nation regional grouping BIMSTEC on Wednesday adopted a charter to expand its comprehensive cooperation and approved a comprehensive revamp of the grouping’s cooperation activities at a virtual summit attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other leaders of the bloc. , under which India will lead the security pillar of the consortium.
The group also confirmed a master plan for transport connectivity at the summit.
Prime Minister Modi has announced an ad hoc grant of $1 million for the operating budget of the cluster secretariat, according to Rudrenda Tandon, additional secretary at India’s External Affairs Ministry who handles the BIMSTEC division.
In a press conference, Tandon said that the leaders of BIMSTEC member countries also approved a complete reorganization of the cooperative activities of the grouping. From now on, BIMSTEC cooperation activities will take place in seven pillars and each of the member countries will lead one pillar. India will lead the security pillar of BIMSTEC, according to Tandon.
BIMSTEC members include India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan.
Shortly after the Summit, MEA said that the adoption of the charter gave BIMSTEC an “international personality” and that it reflected a significant evolution of this grouping.
Tandon said the summit, hosted by Sri Lanka, also finalized three documents providing for the expansion of cooperation.
From our perspective, the signing of the charter is the most important outcome, Tandon said, adding that the Summit had made “gradual progress” in expanding cooperation among member states.
In his address, Prime Minister Modi proposed that the pace of cooperation be accelerated and the grouping should not stop after the adoption of the charter.
Tandon said Modi also spoke of the need to move forward in the areas of connectivity, maritime cooperation, security and economic integration.
India made concerted efforts to make BIMSTEC a vibrant forum for regional cooperation as SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) initiatives were not moving forward for various reasons.
With PTI inputs