A regional economic cooperation of nations lying to adjacent areas of Bay of Bengal is known as Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). It came into existence on 6th June, 1997 after Bangkok Declaration. It represents 1.5 billion population (22% of global population). It constitutes GDP of 2.7 trillion economies.
It was started as (BIST-EC) Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand economic cooperation in 1997. With inclusion of Myanmar, the group was renamed to ‘BIMST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation). The Nepal and Bhutan has joined in 2004, then the name of the grouping was changed to ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (BIMSTEC)
There are seven member states of BIMSTEC, out of which five are South Asian countries and two are South East Asian countries. These seven countries are:
The objective of BIMSTEC is to harness shared and accelerated growth through mutual cooperation. It started with co-operation in six sectors -including trade, technology, energy, transport, tourism and fisheries. Later it was expanded to take up specific cooperation projects in the sectors of trade, investment and industry, technology, human recourse development, tourism, agriculture, energy, and infrastructure and transportation ; through joint endeavours and active collaboration, provide mutual assistance in the form of training and research facilities, on matters of common interest in the economic, social, technical and scientific fields
The permanent secretariat is situated at Dhaka, Bangladesh. It was established in September, 2014. The present chair is Sri Lanka.
BIMSTEC Summit is the highest policy body making in the process. The Summit is held once every two years. The 4th summit was held in Kathmandu, Nepal in August, 2018. Sri Lanka will host the next Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit in September 2020
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