Kathmandu, June 5
Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal today said the enhanced connectivity of geography, finance, technology, knowledge and ideas can create robust linkages in trade and investment, energy and tourism, among others, that can uplift the countries and their people to the upper rung of development ladder.
PM Dahal said this while extending best wishes to BIMSTEC (the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Co-operation) on the occasion of its 20th anniversary of establishment today.
He extended best wishes to the organisation for the continued success of its initiatives and activities for deepening regional integration and cooperation.
“This special day will remind and inspire all of us to dedicate ourselves towards attaining concrete outcomes in line with the evolution of BIMSTEC. The two decades of experience at BIMSTEC apprises that we need to make further efforts to promote regional collaboration and partnership for our mutual benefit,” he said in a message of best wishes.
The BIMSTEC countries collectively possess bountiful natural resources, vibrant population and diverse cultural heritages. The region has huge potentials for cooperation and collaboration for closer intra-regional connectivity.
According to him, the BIMSTEC has a multitude of challenges in the region. Mass poverty, increasing inequalities, illiteracy and diseases are particularly prevalent while impact of climate change and natural disasters is more visible. To overcome these existing and emerging new challenges, we require enhanced partnership and collaboration among us, he said.
The PM reminded the renewed commitments as incorporated in the Outcome Document agreed at the BRICS-BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreat in Goa, India on 16 October 2016. The Agenda of Action provides a clear direction to reinforce our endeavours towards harnessing natural and human resources for our collective progress and prosperity. The BIMSTEC will have the opportunity to review its progress during the Fourth BIMSTEC Summit to be convened in Nepal, he added.
He reaffirmed Nepal’s commitment to regional integration and cooperation with the belief that BIMSTEC provides a platform to progress and prosperity in the region.
On the same occasion, Minister for Foreign Affairs, Prakash Sharan Mahat said in the light of few concrete achievements, much more needs to be done for the collective progress and prosperity of the BIMSTEC.
“The foundation of BIMSTEC was inspired by the conviction that rapid economic development coupled with social progress would be achievable with joint endeavors of the member states in the spirit of mutual collaboration and partnership. Our geographical proximity, abundant and diverse natural resources, and a vast mixture of human resources are key enabling factors for our collective progress and prosperity,” he said in the message of best wishes.
He also reminded that there has been renewed political commitment in the BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreat in Goa, India last year to expedite regional cooperation under BIMSTEC framework. The BIMSTEC leaders have directed the members towards developing outcome-oriented BIMSTEC 2030 Agenda, preparing a master plan for BIMSTEC connectivity, expanding BIMSTEC energy trade, concluding BIMSTEC Trade Facilitation Agreement and BIMSTEC Agreement on Mutual Assistance on Customs Matters, and fast tracking BIMSTEC Free Trade Area negotiations.
“Progress in enhanced regional cooperation in core areas such as trade, investment, transport, and energy will certainly culminate in deeper regional integration and changed development landscape in the region,” he hoped.
The foreign minister informed that the BIMSTEC Secretariat has done commendable work for coordinating and facilitating our engagements under BIMSTEC framework. “I wish to take the opportunity to convey that Nepal is committed to hosting the fourth BIMSTEC Summit in Nepal,” he underscored.
A version of this article appears in print on June 06, 2017 of The Himalayan Times.