India reiterates commitment to momentum-building of BIMSTEC framework

ANI
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External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar

New Delhi [India], April 1 (ANI): External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Friday said that India remains committed to further building the momentum of regional cooperation under the framework of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) and make it a stronger, vibrant and result-oriented grouping.

Speaking at the 17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting, the minister said that BIMSTEC enjoys the unique strength of connecting South and South-East Asia.

"India remains committed to further building the momentum of regional cooperation under the BIMSTEC framework and make the organization stronger, vibrant, more effective and result-oriented. I am confident that BIMSTEC would scale new heights in the times to come with our collective efforts and spirit of cooperation," he said.

"BIMSTEC over the years has emerged as a promising sub-regional grouping with growing strategic and economic interests of the Member States, as well as of the international community in the Bay of Bengal region. Our collective resolve to impart a fresh dynamism to BIMSTEC has rejuvenated the organization," he said.

The minister further expressed his satisfaction that the region is witnessing rapid economic growth with growing political and economic cooperation among the Member States adding that BIMSTEC has achieved significant progress in many of the priority areas of cooperation.

"I am happy to note that the Member States have agreed on rationalization of Sectors and Subsectors of cooperation," he said.

Jaishankar stated that India had announced several initiatives at the last BIMSTEC Summit in Kathmandu to further strengthen BIMSTEC cooperation and capacity-building in diverse areas adding that he wasglad that many of these initiatives have already been implemented, including the BIMSTEC Startup Conclave, the BIMSTEC Military Exercise, the BIMSTEC Ministerial Conclave at the India Mobile Congress 2018, to name a few.

He reiterated that robust connectivity is an essential pre-requisite for economic integration of the region with smooth cross-border movement of people and goods. While expressing his delight that delighted that the Member States have finalized the BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity which is expected to be adopted at the fifth BIMSTEC Summit, Jaishankar stressed that it would be an important step towards fulfilling the aspirations of the people of our region for better connectivity and integration.

"We also need to put in place a legal framework for smooth connectivity in the region by finalizing the BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement and the Motor Vehicles Agreement at an early date," he stressed.

While stressing the traditional and non-traditional security challenges faced by countries, Jaishankar stressed that cooperation in the security sector, therefore, has a special significance.

"Our NSAs have met thrice since 2017. They have been working closely and have moved forward in several aspects of security cooperation including counter-terrorism, intelligence sharing, coastal security, cybersecurity, etc in a tangible manner," he said.

Asserting that India is one of the biggest startup ecosystems in the world, Prime Minister Narendra Modi in mid-January launched a Rs 1,000 crore 'Startup India Seed Fund' to help new startups in the country.

PM Modi made the announcement about the fund 'Prarambh: Startup India International Summit' organised by the Commerce Ministry.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization comprising seven Member States around the Bay of Bengal region. BIMSTEC constitutes a unique link between South and South-East Asia with five Members from South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal and Sri Lanka) and two from South-East Asia (Myanmar and Thailand).

Sri Lanka is the Current chair of BIMSTEC. (ANI)