BIMSTEC – Prelims Data

    • Background – On June 6, 1997, a new sub-regional grouping was formed in Bangkok under the name BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation). On 22 December 1997, Myanmar became a full member, resulting in the renaming of the grouping to BIMST-EC. In 1998, Nepal became an observer. In February 2004, Nepal and Bhutan became full members.
    • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven nations, housing 1.5 billion people and having a combined gross domestic product of $3.5 trillion (2018) which accounts for 4 per cent of the global GDP and 3.7 percent of the global trade. The BIMSTEC member states—Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand , Nepal and Bhutan. The permanent secretariat is in Dhaka, Bangladesh. India provides 33% (65% of region’s population) of its expenditure.
    • BIMSTEC held its first-ever military exercise in September 2018 in Pune, India. Termed “MILEX-2018,” the transnational exercise aimed to boost interoperability among forces and exchange best practices in counterterrorism.
    • Among seven member countries, five members of BIMSTEC are also members of SAARC, two are part of ASEAN and six are part of SASEC (South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation). 
  • Fourth BIMSTEC Summit was held in Kathmandu on August 30-31, 2018.  The summit saw the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on establishing a BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection to enhance energy cooperation among the seven BIMSTEC member states. The last BIMSTEC Summit was held in 2014 in Myanmar.
  • Northeast India shares borders with four BIMSTEC countries.

Also read: Summary – The Hindu – Challenges at BIMSTEC.