BIMSTEC will be helpful to attain sustainable development: KP Sharma Oli

Kathmandu, Nepal Published: Aug 28, 2018, 09:02 PM(IST)

Nepal PM KP Sharma Oli (File photo) Photograph:( Reuters )

Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli said on Tuesday that the upcoming BIMSTEC Summit, hosted by Nepal, would be helpful in achieving sustainable development through poverty alleviation, facing climate change challenges and expanding road connectivity among member states.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be among the leaders who will attend the 4th BIMSTEC Summit on August 30-31 in Kathmandu. The theme of the summit is 'Towards a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal region'.

"The Summit will be very much fruitful in facing challenges posed by global warming, achieve sustainable development goals, and expanding connectivity to ease movement among the people of BIMSTEC-member states and enhance cooperation," Prime Minister Oli told the Parliament.

"Economic prosperity of the people of this region, expansion of road network and construction of Buddhist Circuit will mainly figure during the summit," he said while briefing the lawmakers about the upcoming summit.

Though BIMSTEC has 14 priority sectors, this summit has integrated two more priority sectors - Blue Economy and Mountain Economy, he said.

The BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) 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, and has a combined gross domestic product of US $2.8 trillion.

The first BIMSTEC summit was held in Thailand in 1997, second in 2008 in India and third in 2014 in Myanmar. Nepal has assumed the chairmanship of BIMSTEC since 2014. 

"BIMSTEC should not be a mere group of nations, rather it should serve as an effective organisation for enhancing regional cooperation and prosperity," Prime Minister Oli said.

He also asserted that Nepal, as a member state of South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation (SAARC), wants the next SAARC summit to be held at the earliest. 

SAARC Summits are usually held biennially, hosted by a member state in alphabetical order. The last SAARC Summit in 2014 was held in Kathmandu.

The 2016 SAARC Summit was to be held in Islamabad but after a major terror attack on an Indian Army camp in Uri in Jammu and Kashmir on September 18 that year, India expressed its inability to participate in the summit due to "prevailing circumstances" and stepped up diplomatic pressure on Pakistan. The summit was called off after Bangladesh, Bhutan and Afghanistan also declined to participate. 

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