Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Wednesday, 30 March virtually addressed the fifth Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit, encouraging increased regional cooperation.
"The recent developments in Europe have raised questions about the stability of the international order. In this context, it has become a greater priority to have regional cooperation. Today we are adopting BIMSTEC charter to develop institution architecture for our group," the PM stated.
India signed three BIMSTEC charters in the presence of PM Modi and other leaders at the summit:
BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters
BIMSTEC Memorandum of Understanding on Mutual Cooperation in the field of Diplomatic Training
Memorandum of Association on Establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility
Modi also announced that India will contribute $1 million to the BIMSTEC secretariat, with the aim of enhancing its operational budget.
"It is important to strengthen the capacity of (BIMSTEC) secretariat...I suggest the secretary-general create a roadmap for the same," the leader added.
BIMSTEC Now a Formal Regional Organisation: MEA
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement on Wednesday that the signing of the BIMSTEC charter is a significant achievement that formalises the group into proper regional organisation.
It added that the summit saw considerable progress in the adoption of the ‘Master Plan for Transport Connectivity’ by leaders.
The MEA said that PM Modi proposed the pace of cooperation to be accelerated and spoke about the need to move forward in areas of connectivity, marine cooperation, security, and economic integration.
Calling member countries as "seven pillars", the MEA said that India will lead security pillar of the grouping, as per PTI.
On Tuesday, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also attended a BIMSTEC meeting, which was aimed at strengthening economic engagement among member countries.
BIMSTEC is a regional alliance of nations around the Bay of Bengal, comprising of India, Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, Nepal, and Bhutan. The 5th summit of the group is hosted by Sri Lanka and presently underway.
On Wednesday, Modi stressed on making Bay of Bengal the "bridge of connectivity, prosperity, and security."