Nepal plans to host BIMSTEC Summit next year in Capital

Kathmandu, July 21

The government has planned to host the fourth BIMISTEC Summit in Kathmandu next year.

Minister for Foreign Affairs Mahendra Bahadur Pandey told The Himalayan Times that preparations were under way to organise the meeting of Heads of State/Government of BIMSETEC countries in 2016.

This will be yet another major diplomatic gala in Nepal after the 18th SAARC Summit that was organised in November.

Though the date and details of the jamboree are yet to be worked out, Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has already started groundwork in this regard, according to Minister Pandey.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMISTEC) has seven members: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Since the third BIMSTEC Summit that was held in Myanmar in March last year, Nepal has assumed the chairmanship of the inter-regional bloc aimed to enhance technical and economic cooperation among its member-states.

“We started preparations for six months, mainly the logistical part for the BIMSTEC Summit,” said a MoFA official. “However Nepal is yet to reach out to other member-states regarding the Summit.”

According to officials, at least certain protocols, agreements or understandings have to be signed among member-states prior to such a high-level summit.

Nevertheless, no such agreement or understanding has been reached among member-states since the last Summit of BIMSTEC countries.

Meanwhile, a Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) to be attended by Foreign Secretaries of member states was supposed to be held in Kathmandu in May in order to give technical and financial boost to the newly set up BIMSTEC Secretariat in Bangladesh.

However, the devastating April 25 earthquakes in Nepal put off the meeting, which Nepal is trying to organise in Kathmandu in September.