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Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation
BIMSTEC (orthographic projection).svg
SecretariatDhaka, Bangladesh[1]
Official languageEnglish
• Chairmanship
 Sri Lanka (since September 2018)[2]
• Secretary General
Tenzin Lekphell
Establishment6 June 1997; 24 years ago (1997-06-06)

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven South Asian and Southeast Asian nations, housing 1.73 billion people and having a combined gross domestic product of $3.8 trillion (2021).[4][5] The BIMSTEC member states – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand[6] – are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.

Fourteen priority sectors of cooperation have been identified and several BIMSTEC centres have been established to focus on those sectors.[4][7] A BIMSTEC free trade agreement is under negotiation (c. 2018), also referred to as the mini SAARC.

Leadership is rotated in alphabetical order of country names. The permanent secretariat is in Dhaka, Bangladesh.


On 6 June 1997, a new sub-regional grouping was formed in Bangkok under the name BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation).[8][9] Following the inclusion of Myanmar on 22 December 1997 during a special Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok, the Group was renamed ‘BIMST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation). In 1998, Nepal became an observer. In February 2004, Nepal and Bhutan became full members.

On 31 July 2004, in the first Summit the grouping was renamed as BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.[10]


There are 14 main sectors of BIMSTEC along technological and economic cooperation among South Asian and Southeast Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal.

  1. Trade & Investment
  2. Transport & Communication
  3. Energy
  4. Tourism
  5. Technology
  6. Fisheries
  7. Agriculture
  8. Public Health
  9. Poverty Alleviation
  10. Counter-Terrorism & Transnational Crime
  11. Environment & Disaster Management
  12. People-to-People Contact
  13. Cultural Cooperation
  14. Climate Change

Sectors 7 to 13 were added at the 8th Ministerial Meeting in Dhaka in 2005 while the 14th sector was added in 11th Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi in 2008.

Member nations are denoted as Lead Countries for each sector.

  • Provides cooperation to one another for the provision of training and research facilities in educational vocational and technical fields
  • Promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in economic, social, technical and scientific fields of common interest
  • Provides help to increase the socio-economic growth of the member countries

Permanent Secretariat

The BIMSTEC Permanent Secretariat at Dhaka was opened in 2014 and India contributes 32% of its expenditure.[4][11] The current Secretary General of the BIMSTEC is Ambassador Tenzin Lekphell from Bhutan and the former Secretary General was Mr. Shahidul Islam from Bangladesh. And First Secretary General was Mr. Sumith Nakandala from Sri Lanka.


The BIMSTEC uses the alphabetical order for the Chairmanship. The Chairmanship of the BIMSTEC has been taken in rotation commencing with Bangladesh (1997–1999).[12]

Member nations

Countries Leader Position Head of government Head of state Population Nominal GDP / US$billion[13] World Bank SAARC
 Bangladesh Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Abdul Hamid, President of Bangladesh 161,376,708 409 Green tickY Green tickY
 Bhutan Prime minister Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, King of Bhutan 754,388 2.842 Green tickY Green tickY
 India Prime minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India Ram Nath Kovind, President of India 1,352,642,280 2,935.570 Green tickY Green tickY
 Myanmar President Win Myint, President of Myanmar 53,708,320 65.994 Green tickY Red XN
   Nepal Prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba, Prime Minister of Nepal Bidhya Devi Bhandari, President of Nepal 28,095,714 29.813 Green tickY Green tickY
 Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka 21,228,763 86.566 Green tickY Green tickY
 Thailand Prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X), King of Thailand 69,428,453 529.177 Green tickY Red XN

Heads of the member nations

BIMSTEC priority sectors

14 priority areas have been identified with the lead nations appointed to lead the effort:[4][7][14] The organisation has 15 priority areas for cooperation, including Trade & Investment, Transport & Communication, Energy, Tourism, Technology, Fisheries, Agriculture, Public Health, Poverty Alleviation, Counter-Terrorism & Transnational Crime, Environment & Disaster Management, People-to-People Contact, Cultural Cooperation, Climate Change and Blue Economy.

Priority Area Lead Country Centre Comments
Transport and communication  India
Tourism  India BIMSTEC Tourism Information Centre, Delhi
Counterterrorism and transnational crime  India Four subgroups: Intelligence sharing – Sri Lanka (lead),
Terror financing – Thailand,
Legal – Myanmar,
Law enforcement and narcotics –  Myanmar
Environment and disaster management  India BIMSTEC Weather and Climate Centre, Noida
Energy  Myanmar BIMSTEC Energy Centre, Bengaluru BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection MoU signed in 2014.[15][16]
Public Health  Thailand BIMSTEC Network of Traditional Medicine in India
Agriculture  Myanmar
Trade & Investment  Bangladesh
Technology  Sri Lanka
Fisheries  Thailand
People-to-People Contact  Thailand
Poverty Alleviation    Nepal
Climate Change  Bangladesh
Cultural Cooperation  Bhutan 1200 ITEC scholarships by India

BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement

The BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement (BFTAFA) has been signed by all member nations to stimulate trade and investment in the parties, and attract outsiders to trade with and invest in the BIMSTEC countries at a higher level. Subsequently, the "Trade Negotiating Committee" (TNC) was set up, with Thailand as the permanent chair, to negotiate in areas of trade in goods and services, investment, economic co-operation, trade facilitations and technical assistance for LDCs. Once negotiation on trade in goods is completed, the TNC would then proceed with negotiation on trade in services and investment.[17]

The BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement draft was discussed on 1 December 2017 in New Delhi, to facilitate coastal shipping within 20 nautical miles of the coastline in the region to boost trade between the member countries. Compared to the deep sea shipping, coastal ship require smaller vessels with lesser draft and involve lower costs. Once the agreement becomes operational after it is ratified, a lot of cargo movement between the member countries can be done through the cost effective, environment friendly and faster coastal shipping routes.[18]

On 7 and 8 November 2019, the first ever BIMSTEC Conclave of Ports summit was held in Visakhapatnam, India.[19] The main aims of this summit is providing a platform to strengthen maritime interaction, port-led connectivity initiatives and sharing best practices among member countries.

Cooperation with Asian Development Bank (ADB)

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) becomes a partner in 2005, to undertake the "BIMSTEC Transport Infrastructure and Logistic Study" (BTILS), which was completed in 2014.[20]


Second Summit at New Delhi, India
Second Summit at New Delhi, India
Third Summit at Naypyidaw, Myanmar
Third Summit at Naypyidaw, Myanmar
No. Date Host country Host city
1st 31 July 2004  Thailand Bangkok
2nd 13 November 2008  India New Delhi
3rd 4 March 2014  Myanmar Naypyidaw[21]
4th 30–31 August 2018    Nepal Kathmandu[22]
5th 2022  Sri Lanka Colombo[2][23]


See also


  1. ^ "Nepal unlikely to host fourth 'Bimstec' summit this year". Business Standard India. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b "BIMSTEC summit ends with Oli presenting Kathmandu declaration". The Hindu. 31 August 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Tenzin Lekphell begins journey as BIMSTEC Secretary General". UNB. 6 November 2020. Retrieved 19 January 2021.
  4. ^ a b c d BIMSTEC: Building bridges between South Asia & Southeast Asia Archived 22 December 2017 at the Wayback Machine, IndiaWrites, 2014.
  5. ^ BIMSTEC
  6. ^ "Regional economic integration in the Bay of Bengal". 25 February 2016.
  7. ^ a b "Energy". Archived from the original on 6 December 2017. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  8. ^ Haidar, Suhasini (15 October 2016). "BIMSTEC a sunny prospect in BRICS summit at Goa". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  9. ^ "BRICS Summit 2016: BIMSTEC members have economic opportunities to share, said Narendra Modi". The Economic Times. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  10. ^ See for a detailed historical account of the founding and evolution of BIST-EC and BIMST-EC e.g. Michael, Arndt (2013). India's Foreign Policy and Regional Multilateralism (Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 145–163.
  11. ^ "Area of cooperation". Archived from the original on 22 December 2017. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Third BIMSTEC Summit Declaration". Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  13. ^ "World Economic Outlook Database, October 2019". International Monetary Fund. 15 October 2019. Retrieved 3 September 2019.
  14. ^ BIMSTC sectors
  15. ^ "India Cabinet Approves Signing of BIMSTEC Power Grid Pact | News | South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation". Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Nepal to join BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection". Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  17. ^ "Bimstec committee mulls free trade deal in Dhaka". 13 November 2018. Archived from the original on 30 March 2019. Retrieved 30 March 2019.
  18. ^ "BIMSTEC Member States discuss draft text of Coastal Shipping Agreement".
  19. ^ "First BIMSTEC Conclave of Ports, Vishakhapatnam (November 7-8, 2019)".
  20. ^ BIMSTEC Transport Infrastructure and Logistic Study
  21. ^ "BIMSTEC Summit". Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  22. ^ "Nepal proposes dates for Bimstec Summit". Business Standard India. 5 June 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  23. ^ "4th BIMSTEC Summit: Kathmandu Declaration adopted by Member States". 31 August 2018. Retrieved 31 August 2018.

External links

This page was last edited on 13 December 2021, at 13:50
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