Prime Minister Modi, on Thursday, attending the forth Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectorial Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) in Nepal said that peace and prosperity in the region was possible only if there was connectivity in all forms between the member states. The Prime Minister is also scheduled to visit the Pashupati Nath temple on Friday.
“I am confident that the fourth BIMSTEC will further consolidate the progress made thus far under BIMSTEC, and will chart the course for building a peaceful and prosperous Bay of Bengal region” said Narendra Modi, the Indian Prime Minister on his arrival in Kathmandu for the 4th summit of BIMSTEC.
BIMSTEC summit is scheduled to be held for two days, August 30 to August 31. According to sources, on the sidelines of the summit, Modi is expected to have bilateral meetings with all the leaders of BIMSTEC to promulgate regional cooperation, enhance trade ties, and to advance the collective efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous Bay of Bengal region. He also called for taking the process forward for BIMSTEC coastal shipping and motor vehicle agreements.
On Thursday, PM Modi attended the inaugural session of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation summit. Speaking at the event, he said, “In the sector of digital connectivity, India is committed to increase its National Knowledge Network in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka”.
On the first day of summit, Modi met the Nepal President Bidhya Devi Bhandari upon his arrival. BIMSTEC leaders including Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina and Nepal PM KP Oli were also present at the meeting. On the sidelines of the summit Modi also met his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina, and took stock of the bilateral ties between the two nations, including ways to boost economic and cultural cooperation, according to PM Modi’s tweet.
The External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted after the meeting, earlier. He wrote, “A fraternal relationship anchored in history, culture, language and shared values! In a warm bilateral meeting between PM @narendramodi and PM of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina, both leaders took stock of the bilateral relationship”.
On 30 August, at around 3.55 pm, another bilateral meeting was held with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena before Sheikh Hasina to discuss ways to boost cooperation, as Raveesh Kumar, the External Affairs Ministry spokesperson tweeted, “Cementing cooperation with a valued neighbor and close friend. President @MaithripalaS and PM @narendramodi meet on the sidelines of the BIMSTEC summit in Kathmandu”.
The BIMSTEC is a regional group comprising Bangladesh, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Mayanmar, Bhutan, Thailand and Nepal. The grouping accounts for 22 percent of the global population. The theme of the summit is ‘Towards a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal’.
Earlier, Modi said, “The summit theme will enable us to shape a collective response to our common aspirations and challenges”. Furthermore, The Prime Minister’s participation in the summit symbolized India’s highest priority to its neighborhood and the strong commitment to further depending relationship with the extended neighborhood in south-east Asia.
According to official sources, counter-terrorism is an important focus area at the summit, and the summit would stand witness to signing a memorandum of understanding on setting up of BIMSTEC Grid interconnection, which is expected to pave the way for buying and selling of electricity among the member states, once the cross-country energy grids are put in place.