Foreign secretary participates in Raisina Dialogue

Kathmandu, January 18

Foreign Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi participated in the Raisina Dialogue 2018 today as a panelist in the session titled ‘Towards a Bay of Bengal Community: Development, Growth and Security’ in New Delhi.

Discussions during the session were mainly focused on the current situation of BIMSTEC as a process of regional cooperation and its future prospects, said a press release issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Raisina Dialogue is a joint initiative of the Ministry of External Affairs of India and Observer Research Foundation.  Running in its third year, the annual deliberative event has been described as India’s flagship conference on geopolitics, security and economics.  The organisers said Raisina Dialogue had drawn over 500 speakers and delegates from 86 countries this year.

Speaking at the function, Bairagi said BIMSTEC had registered some success primarily in identifying the areas of cooperation, developing some important mechanisms and enhancing mutual trust and confidence among member states to grow and prosper together.  “A number of major instruments have either been concluded or are in the process of concluding. Key areas include security, trade, energy and connectivity. Intra-regional connectivity has received high priority for smooth cross-flow of peoples, goods, services, technology and ideas to enhance intra-regional trade and tourism, cultural interactions and to develop a sense of solidarity and oneness among the peoples of the region,” he said.

He stressed the need for BIMSTEC to have a long-term vision translated into a long-term plan and concrete steps on the ground.

“We need to have clarity on what kind of regional cooperation we want and what will the degree, modality and process of such cooperation be. BIMSTEC should prepare a connectivity blueprint. The master plan on transport connectivity should be concluded at the earliest. Integration of Green Economy with Blue Economy to harness the resources from the Himalayas and the Indian Ocean can be a strong case of regional cooperation,” he said.