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BIMSTEC at 20

Context

Brief background about BIMSTEC

  1. First in Thailand in 2004.
  2. Second in India in 2008.
  3. Third in Myanmar in 2014.
  4. The fourth summit meeting is expected to take place later this year (2017) in Nepal, the current Chair of BIMSTEC.

Significance

Challenges

Though largely devoid of bilateral tensions, as is the case in SAARC, BIMSTEC does not seem to have made much progress. The so-called sluggishness in BIMSTEC last two decades is attributed to many factors:

Renewed Interest

  1. Transportation and communication.
  2. Environment and disaster management.
  1. Counter-terrorism and trans-national crime.

For BIMSTEC to become an enabler of regional cooperation, it will have to evolve as an organisation that works through a bottom-up rather than a top-down approach. The people-centric approach seems to be the best as BIMSTEC seriously lags behind ASEAN and other regional organisations in terms of people-to-people contacts. Since the BIMSTEC region is notable for its diversity, the member states need to build on the regional synergies and work towards utilising the available resources in the most optimal manner. This would help build a stronger and a more dynamic BIMSTEC.

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