The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Summit was convened in Kathmandu to hold talks on trade, security and development. BIMSTEC member states comprise India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal and these countries account for 22% of the world population with a combined GDP of USD 2.8 trillion.
“India is committed to work with the BIMSTEC member states to enhance regional connectivity," Prime Minister Narendra Modi said at the summit which was inaugurated by Nepal PM K P Sharma Oli. “I believe that there is a big opportunity for Connectivity - trade connectivity, economic connectivity, transport connectivity, digital connectivity, and people-to-people connectivity.”
He added, "The Bay of Bengal holds special significance for the security and development of all of us.” BIMSTEC member states located between the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal often face natural disasters such as flood, cyclone and earthquake. PM Modi asked for "cooperation and coordination" among them in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.
"There is no country in the region which has not suffered from terrorism and trans-national crimes such as drug trafficking linked to networks of terrorism."
"As no single country can move alone for attaining peace, prosperity and development, we need to collaborate and cooperate with each other in this interconnected world," he said.