First of the six top dignitaries arrives today

Kathmandu, August 27

Heads of states and governments will start arriving tomorrow for the fourth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation being held in Kathmandu on August 30 and 31.

Myanmar President Win Myint will be the first head of state to land in Kathmandu, with his special aircraft scheduled to touch down at Tribhuvan International Airport at 2:45 pm tomorrow.

Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Bhutan’s Chief Justice and Chief Adviser to the Interim Government Tshering Wangchuk will land in Kathmandu on Wednesday, while Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina Wazed and Thailand Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha will reach on Thursday morning.

All heads of states/governments will be welcomed at the airport by either of the two deputy prime ministers — Defence Minister Ishwor Pokhrel and Health and Population Minister Upendra Yadav — according to Ghanashyam Lamsal, deputy chief of protocol at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

Myanmar President Myint and Sri Lankan President Sirisena will hold bilateral talks with Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli and also meet President Bidhya Devi Bhandari. They will also visit the birthplace of Lord Buddha in Lumbini. Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will also hold bilateral talks with Oli on August 31.

Lamsal said all the dignitaries — including heads of states and governments, ministers and other participants — will be residing at Hotel Soaltee Crown Plaza, also the venue for the summit and pre-summit meetings. Hotel Soaltee Crown Plaza has also been finalised as a venue for the retreat on August 31.

In the run-up to the summit, a senior officials’ meet is being held tomorrow which will discuss a host of issues related to preparations for the 16th ministerial meeting the following day and the summit.

Senior officials will set the agenda for the summit to be finalised by the ministerial meeting, according to Ram Babu Dhakal, assistant spokesperson for the MoFA. The ministerial meeting will also give finishing touches to the Kathmandu declaration already agreed by member states.

Some of the major agenda for the summit include connectivity, poverty alleviation, trade, investment and tourism, climate change and security challenges. Other areas of discussion include strengthening and making effective the BIMSTEC secretariat, the establishment of BIMSTEC development fund, Buddhist circuit, setting up of regional centres and adoption of BIMSTEC charter.

The summit is also expected to discuss condensing the 14 priority areas of BIMSTEC to around five or six more focused areas, with a special focus on poverty alleviation.

The summit will witness the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the establishment of the BIMSTEC grid interconnection, paving the way for trade in energy among member states.

On the sidelines, Nepal and India will sign two bilateral memorandums of understanding on bulk cargo transport and Raxaul-Kathmandu railway. Nepal and Sri Lanka will also sign a MoU on cooperation between Nepal’s Institute of Foreign Affairs and Sri Lanka’s Bandaranaike Centre for International Studies. Modi will also inaugurate and hand over an inn on the Pashupatinath temple premises to the Nepal government.

As far as security arrangement is concerned, personnel from all security agencies will provide security to dignitaries in three layers. Nepali Army will form the first layer around the heads of states/governments, while the second and third layers of security will be provided by Armed Police Force and Nepal Police, respectively.