The 4th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit successfully concluded on Friday, 31 August with Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli handing over the chairmanship of the grouping to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.
PM Modi arrived in Nepal, earlier on 30 August, to attend the two-day Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation event. A group of 7 countries form the BIMSTEC, including Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal.
"With a commitment by PM @narendramodi and other leaders to reinvigorate the BIMSTEC process, the #BIMSTECSummit in Kathmandu came to a successful close," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
Prime Minister Oli, the current chair of the BIMSTEC, presented a draft of the Kathmandu declaration which was unanimously adopted by the member states.
Addressing the closing session, Oli said that collective wisdom, thought and vision on the goal of peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal region is eloquently captured in the Kathmandu declaration.
India, Nepal Exchange MoU on Raxual-Kathmandu Railway Line
India and Nepal on Friday, 31 August exchanged an MoU to build a strategic railway line connecting Bihar's Raxual city to Kathmandu after Prime Minister Narendra Modi held talks on all aspects of the bilateral ties with his Nepalese counterpart KP Sharma Oli.
This was the third meeting between Modi and Oli this year. They met earlier during Oli's visit to India in April and the subsequent visit of Prime Minister Modi to Nepal in May.
“Our deliberations were wide-ranging, covering multiple aspects of India-Nepal relations,” Prime Minister Modi said after the meeting on the sidelines of the 4th BIMSTEC Summit.
"We discussed ways to further deepen our economic, trade and cultural ties. Enhancing connectivity between our nations was discussed as well," he added.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said that the two leaders held a detailed review on all aspects of the bilateral relationship.
They had a "warm meeting", Kumar added.
"Following the talks, PM @narendramodi and PM of Nepal KP Sharma Oli witnessed the exchange of an MoU between the Government of India & the Government of Nepal regarding preliminary engineering-cum-traffic survey of the broad gauge line between Raxaul (India) & Kathmandu (Nepal)," Kumar tweeted.
The MoU was signed by Secretary at the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works, Madhusudan Adhikari, from Nepali side and Manjiv Singh Puri from the Indian side.
Happy to See Political Stability in Nepal: Modi
PM Modi on Friday voiced satisfaction over the current political stability in Nepal and assured India's full support in the landlocked country's march towards development.
Addressing a gathering after jointly inaugurating the Nepal-Bharat Maitri Pashupati Dharamshala - a rest house for pilgrims - along with Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli, Modi said, "every Indian is happy to see that there is political stability in Nepal."
The 400-bed rest house at the Pashupati Temple Area Complex has been built with Rs 14 crore of Indian assistance.
Modi said the rest house for pilgrims to the famed Pashupatinath Temple would be a symbol of strong people-to-people bond of both countries.
With Nepal enjoying political stability, the country is developing fast, he said. India's good wishes and support will always be with Nepal," Modi said.
BIMSTEC Nations Call for Early Adoption of Regional Transport Connectivity Master Plan
PM Modi met Lyonpo Tshering Wangchuk, Chief Advisor of the Interim Government of Bhutan on the sidelines of the BIMSTEC Summit in Kathmandu.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia)
BIMSTEC nations, including India, on Friday called for an early adoption of the master plan on transport connectivity in the region to achieve enhanced linkages and sustainable development.
The call came at the conclusion of the 4th BIMSTEC Summit with the adoption of an 18-point Kathmandu Declaration.
PM Modi and other leaders reinvigorate the BIMSTEC process, the BIMSTEC Summit in Kathmandu came to a successful close.
(Photo Courtesy: Twitter/@MEAIndia)
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who attended the summit, on Thursday, made a strong pitch for enhanced regional connectivity.
The member nations in the declaration underlined the importance of multidimensional connectivity, which promotes synergy among connectivity frameworks the region, as a key enabler to economic integration for shared prosperity.
States Abetting Terror Must be Held Accountable: BIMSTEC Nations
Describing terrorism as a "great threat" to international peace and security, India and six other BIMSTEC nations on Friday called for identifying and holding accountable States and non-State entities that encourage, support or finance terrorism, provide sanctuaries to terrorists and falsely extol their virtues.
The Kathmandu Declaration issued at the end of the two-day 4th BIMSTEC summit, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi among others, deplored terror attacks in all parts of the world including in BIMSTEC countries and stressed that there can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism.
"Today's proceedings at the BIMSTEC Summit were extremely productive. We built on the ground covered yesterday and reiterated our commitment to further strengthen multilateral cooperation in diverse areas," Modi said.
“Terrorism and transnational organised crimes continue to pose a great threat to international peace and security including in the BIMSTEC countries,” the Kathmandu declaration said as it strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever and by whomsoever committed.
BIMSTEC Nations Strongly Connected by Civilisation: Modi in Address
Addressing the Fourth BIMSTEC Summit in Kathmandu on Thursday, 30 August, PM Modi said that their respective countries were reeling under problems of agriculture and climate change.
The prime minister also met the heads of the other countries, on the sidelines of the event.
Speaking at the event, PM Modi said that all the BIMSTEC countries were strongly connected by civilisation.
We not only have diplomatic relations with all BIMSTEC countries but are strongly connected by civilisation, history, art, language, cuisine and shared culture.Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India
He said that the countries are linked from Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal, and that cooperation and coordination between countries is essential in the light of natural disasters.
He also added that India was committed to increase the National Knowledge Network.
In the sector of digital connectivity, India is committed to increase its National Knowledge Network in Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka.PM Narendra Modi in Kathmandu
PM Modi met with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena on 30 August, on the sidelines of the BIMSTEC summit, and had an exchange of views on strengthening development cooperation and other areas of bilateral ties, PTI reported.
Modi also met his Bangladeshi counterpart Sheikh Hasina and reviewed the entire gamut of bilateral ties, including ways to boost economic and cultural cooperation.
(With inputs from PTI)