BIMSTEC foreign ministers to meet in New Delhi to deepen cooperation

New Delhi, July 10 (FN Agency) Foreign Ministers of the seven BIMSTEC nations are meeting in New Delhi July 11-12 in an informal setting, to discuss issues including security, connectivity, trade and investment, and people to people ties, in the Bay of Bengal region and littoral. External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar will host his counterparts for the Second BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers’ Retreat in New Delhi. The Retreat will present an opportunity for the Foreign Ministers of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) countries to discuss, in an informal setting, avenues to broaden and deepen cooperation across the various sectors in the Bay of Bengal region and littoral, a statement said.

The first edition of the BIMSTEC Foreign Ministers’ Retreat was held in Bangkok, Thailand on 17 July 2023. The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), brings together seven countries of South and South East Asia for multifaceted cooperation — five from South Asia and two from Southeast Asia– India, Bangladesh, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand. The bloc totals 1.73 billion people with a combined GDP of USD 5.2 trillion, as per data from 2023.
The BIMSTEC Charter entered into force on 20 May 2024, providing legal and institutional framework for meaningful cooperation and deeper integration of the Bay of Bengal region. It enables BIMSTEC to partner with other interested countries/organisations and admit Observers and new Members. The current BIMSTEC Secretary General is Indramani Pandey, a seasoned Indian diplomat. BIMSTEC, formed on June 6, 1997, focuses on 14 priority sectors. The organization, akin to SAARC, is negotiating a free trade agreement, and the leadership rotates alphabetically. The permanent secretariat is based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.