New Delhi, (IANS) Prime Minister Narendra modi on Wednesday greeted the fellow leaders and people of the member states of the Bimstec regional grouping on the occasion of the 21st anniversary of its formation.
“Greetings to fellow leaders and citizens of Bimstec on its 21st anniversary,” Modi tweeted.
“Our shared values will further strengthen our friendship and cooperation, and pave way for heightened development of this region which is among the youngest and fastest growing economies of the world,” he said.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) came into existence on June 6, 1997, through the Bangkok Declaration.
It comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
The main objective of Bimstec is technical and economic cooperation among South Asian and Southeast Asian countries along the rim of the Bay of Bengal.
With the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) virtually rendered ineffective as a bloc, largely due to non-cooperation on the part of Pakistan in a number of areas, India has been giving more importance to Bimstec in recent times.
The bloc brings together 1.5 billion people or 21 per cent of the world’s population and has a combined GDP of $2.5 trillion.
India is the lead country for cooperation in four priority areas: counter-terrorism and transnational crime, transport and communication, tourism and environment, and disaster management.