BIMSTEC emerged as a promising regional grouping: PM Modi

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New Delhi, Jun 6 (PTI) The BIMSTEC has emerged as a promising regional grouping and it made progress on several fronts including finalisation of a master plan for connectivity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said.

Besides India, BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) comprises Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan.

In a message on the occasion of 24th BIMSTEC Day, Modi said he was confident that the grouping will continue to grow and 'scale new heights' of cooperation in the common pursuit of building a secure, peaceful and prosperous Bay of Bengal region.

The prime minister also stressed the need to continue to work together in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic.

'As a manifestation of our collective will, BIMSTEC has emerged as a promising regional grouping to fulfil the common aspirations of its people and serve the shared interests of the Member States,' the prime minister said.

'I am happy to note that regional cooperation under BIMSTEC framework has intensified substantially in the recent years. Progress has been made on several fronts including the finalization of the BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity and the text of the BIMSTEC Charter,' Modi said.

The prime minister's message dated May 31 was tweeted by external affairs ministry spokesperson Arindam Bagchi on Sunday.

'We mark the BIMSTEC Day amidst a difficult phase of the COVID pandemic. It is an unprecedented challenge and a testing time for all of us. We need to continue to work together in the fight against the pandemic and in collectively overcoming its consequences,' Modi said.

The prime minister also complimented Sri Lanka, the current Chair of BIMSTEC, for providing 'able leadership' to the grouping during this time.

'I am confident that BIMSTEC will continue to grow and scale new heights of cooperation in our common pursuit of building a secure, peaceful and prosperous Bay of Bengal region,' Modi said.

India has been making concerted efforts to make BIMSTEC a vibrant forum for regional cooperation as initiatives under SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) were not moving forward for a variety of reasons.

In a tweet, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also talked about the 'enormous potential' of the BIMSTEC.

'On #BIMSTEC Day, underline the enormous potential of Bay of Bengal cooperation. Realising that helps bridge South & South East Asia. Will also contribute to our Act East and Indo-Pacific policies,' he said. PTI MPB TIR TIR

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