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PM Modi at BIMSTEC 2018: Regional issues on agenda today

PM Modi said on Wednesday that his participation in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit in Kathmandu signals India’s highest priority to its neighbourhood and a strong commitment to continue deepening ties with the “extended neighbourhood” in South-East Asia.

In a statement before leaving for Nepal for the two-day summit, PM Modi said he will interact with the leaders of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand on the margins of the summit whose theme is ‘Towards a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal region’.

“I also look forward to meeting Prime Minister of Nepal KP Sharma Oli and reviewing the progress we have made in our bilateral ties since my last visit to Nepal in May 2018,” he said.

PM Modi said he and PM Oli will inaugurate the Nepal Bharat Maitri Dharmashala at the Pashupatinath temple complex.

The Summit’s theme, PM Modi said, will enable the member-countries to shape a collective response to their common aspirations and challenges.

The BIMSTEC is a regional grouping comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The grouping accounts for 22 per cent of the global population. 

BIMSTEC- a regional organisation is rapidly gaining momentum as a strong economic and strategic grouping. During the summit, leaders are expected to hold discussions on wide range of issues including security and counter terrorism, transport and communications, environment, disaster management and strengthening economic cooperation.

BIMSTEC or Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, is a grouping of seven countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka. The bloc accounts for nearly 22% of the world’s population, and has a combined GDP of over $2.8 trillion.

Most importantly, these countries share a common heritage as well as aspirations for peace, prosperity and development.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral talks with leaders of BIMSTEC countries on the sidelines of the summit. This is Prime Minister Modi’s fourth visit to Nepal during his current tenure and symbolises growing regional integration between the South Asian and South East Asian regions.