Current Affairs

Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)

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    3rd Sep, 2021


India hosted the 8th Meeting of Agriculture Experts of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Countries through video conferencing.

Key-highlight of the meeting

  • In this meeting, the UN Food System Summit 2021 and transformational aspects that are happening across agriculture and food systems globally were highlighted.
  • Emphasis was given to enhance the engagement and deepen the cooperation in agriculture and allied sectors amongst the BIMSTEC Member States. 
  • The BIMSTEC Member States also appreciated the greater engagement of India in offering six slots of scholarships for Master and PhD programmes in agriculture and other initiatives for capacity development & training.

What is BIMSTEC?

  • BIMSTEC is an economic bloc that came into being on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
  • BIMSTEC headquarters is located in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
  • Sectors were later expanded to 14 areas of cooperation.
    • Agriculture is one among the 14 sectors.
  • Out of the 7 members,
    • Five are from South Asia
      • Bangladesh
      • Bhutan
      • India
      • Nepal
      • Sri Lanka
    • Two are from Southeast Asia

      • Myanmar
      • Thailand
  • BIMSTEC not only connects South and Southeast Asia, but also the ecologies of the Great Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal.
  • BIMSTEC has emerged as thepreferred platform for regional cooperation in South Asia.
  • It mainly aims to create an enabling environment for 
      • Rapid economic development
      • Accelerate social progress
      • Promote collaboration on matters of common interest in the region

What are the areas of BIMSTEC cooperation?

  • Trade and Investment
  • Technology
  • Energy
  • Transportation and Communication
  • Tourism
  • Fisheries
  • Agriculture
  • Cultural Cooperation
  • Environment and Disaster Management
  • Public Health
  • People-to-People Contact
  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime
  • Climate Change

How is BIMSTEC Important for India?

  • It provides a new platform for India to engage with its neighbours with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) becoming dysfunctional because of differences between India and Pakistan.
  • BIMSTEC allows India to pursue three core policies-
    • Neighborhood First – primacy to the country’s immediate periphery;
    • Act East – connect India with Southeast Asia; and
    • Economic development of India’s northeastern states – by linking them to the Bay of Bengal region via Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • Allows India to counter China’s creeping influence in countries around the Bay of Bengal due to the spread of its One Belt and One Road Initiative.
  • It is of utmost significance to India as it is a major support in implementing its Act East Policy and the development of its ambitious Sagar Mala’ project.

What is the SagarMala Project?

The Sagarmala project is the flagship programme of the Ministry of Shipping to promote port-led development in the country through harnessing India's 7,500 km long coastline, 14,500 km of potentially navigable waterways and strategic location on key international maritime trade routes