- 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.
Categories: POINT IAS
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