Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Thursday attended the inaugural session of the two-day 15th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting here that was inaugurated by Nepal Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.
“Building on shared histories & values. EAM @SushmaSwaraj attends the inaugural session of the 15th Bimstec Ministerial Meeting in Kathmandu,” Indian External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
Sushma Swaraj will be speaking at Friday’s session of the Ministerial Meeting.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) came into existence in June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
It comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The main objective of BIMSTEC is technical and economic cooperation among South Asian and Southeast Asian countries along the rim of the Bay of Bengal.
With the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) virtually rendered ineffective as a bloc, largely due to non-cooperation on the part of Pakistan in a number of areas, India has been giving more importance to BIMSTEC in recent times.
The bloc brings together 1.5 billion people or 21 per cent of the world’s population and has a combined GDP of $2.5 trillion.
India is the lead country for cooperation in four priority areas: counter-terrorism and transnational crime, transport and communication, tourism and environment, and disaster management.