What you must know about BIMSTEC
As you know that India hosted the first ever military drill exercise of the BIMSTEC ( Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) the last September. So what is BIMSTEC and what is the significance of India in the group? Let's talk about this today.
- It is an international organisation of seven nations having a combined gross domestic product of $3.5 trillion.
- The member States include : Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand , Nepal and Bhutan.
- This group aims at technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and southeast Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal.
- It was formed in Bangkok in 1997 under the name BIST-EC. At that time, Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand were the only members.
- And most importantly, India has been pushing for making the BIMSTEC a vibrant form for regional collaboration. This is because it was difficult for India to proceed with SAARC initiative having Pakistan as a member.
- India also hosted the first ever military drill of the group in Pune, Maharashtra. Proper coordination and support against terrorism was the main focus of the drill.
- Each member nations voluntarily leads one or more priority sectors of BIMSTEC. India leads two : counter-terrorism and transnational crime, telecommunication and transport.
- The secretariat is at Dhaka, Bangladesh but the leadership of the group is rotated in alphabetical order of country names.
- As Myanmar and Thailand are also its members, it is going to boost the act East policy of India.
- And lastly, one can also see Bimstec connectivity as a counter to China's BRI (Belt and Road Initiative).
While India is not able to draw much from groups like the SAARC in the current scenario. So this group is going to boost India's interests because this group is also a bridge to nations like Myanmar and Thailand.