Asserting that regional grouping under BIMSTEC enjoys the unique strengths of connecting South and South-East Asia, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj today called upon its leaders to focus on priority areas of Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime; Transport & Communication;Tourism; and Environment & Disaster Management.
Addressing the 15 th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting in Kathmandu today, Ms Swaraj said this group It links the ecologies of the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal. With shared histories, values and ways of life, it is the natural platform, to build a common future.
“For India, BIMSTEC is a natural choice to fulfil our key foreign policy priorities of ‘Neighbourhood First’ and ‘Act East’,” she said.
India’s focus on BIMSTEC is increased after Pakistan failed to convene the Saarc Summit last year as most nations of the grouping refused to participate citing Islamabad support to terrorism and the internal security situation in Pakistan.
BISMTEC is a regional grouping where Pakistan is not a member.
The First Meeting of BIMSTEC National Security Chiefs was held in New Delhi in March this year, in which a holistic approach to tackle traditional and non-traditional security challenges, that threaten the region, was adopted. “We worked out collective strategies to counter the scourge of terrorism, violent extremism & transnational crimes, as also to strengthen our maritime and cyber security cooperation,” said the Minister.
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