Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation
The topic is significant for the IAS Exam from both the prelims and mains viewpoints. It is included under section Mains GS-II "Bilateral, Regional, and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and or impacting India's Interest”.
Recent BIMSTEC Developments
- The 17th BIMSTEC Ministers Meeting was held on April 1, 2021, and was virtually chaired by Sri Lanka in the presence of all member nations.
- The summit endorsed:
|Establishment||6 June 1997 (BIST-EC Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation) 22 December 1997 after the joining of Myanmar it became BIMSTEC|
|Population||1.5 billion people|
|GDP||$3.5 trillion (2018)|
|Member states||Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan|
- On May 31, 2021, the 24th BIMSTEC Day was commemorated.
BIMSTEC - Key Information
What is BIMSTEC's full name?
How many nations are BIMTEC members?
What are the names of the countries that are members of BIMSTEC?
Nepal and Sri Lanka
In Southeast East Asia there are two countries:
When did BIMSTEC enter the picture?
What exactly is BIST-EC?
Thailand and Sri Lanka
BIST-EC is an acronym that stands for Economic Cooperation.
When did Myanmar become a member of BIMSTEC?
When did Nepal and Bhutan become members of BIMSTEC?
What are the BIMSTEC collaboration areas?
BIMSTEC - Mission Statement
BIMSTEC is a sector-driven cooperative organization that promotes cooperation in industries such as communication, leather, textiles, transportation, fisheries, human resource development, tourism, agriculture, investment, technology, and commerce, among others. There are now fourteen priority areas, and each member country volunteers to lead one or more of them. India deals with counter-terrorism and transnational crime, as well as telecommunications and transportation.
The grouping serves as a link between South-Asia and South-East Asia, and it strengthens ties between the seven nations. It is crucial to India since it is a significant help in achieving its Act East Policy and developing its massive 'Sagar Mala' project. In February 2020, BIMSTEC hosted its inaugural conference on "combating drug trafficking" in New Delhi.
- Sovereign Equality
- Territorial Integrity
- Political Independence
- Non-interference in Internal Affairs
- Peaceful Coexistence
- Mutual Benefit
- Complement and not replace bilateral, regional, or multinational collaboration involving the Member States
BIMSTEC - The inaugural gathering of National Security Chiefs
- On March 21, 2017, India held the inaugural meeting of BIMSTEC member states' national security chiefs in New Delhi.
- The meeting's purpose was to address the member countries' common security problems.
- The need of resolving conventional and non-traditional security concerns to harness human security in the area was emphasized, as security cooperation among member states is critical to attaining the organization's goals.
- The significance of marine security has been underlined. The member nations expressed their desire to expand marine security cooperation in areas such as humanitarian assistance and disaster relief.
- An agreement was reached to develop collective security policies that recognize the Bay of Bengal as a shared security environment.
- The meeting also reviewed the urgent need for steps to oppose and prevent the spread of terrorism, violent extremism, and radicalization via collaboration in law enforcement, security organizations, and capacity building.
What is the Importance of BIMSTEC for India?
- Assistance in India's Neighboring Countries
- Economic growth of India's northeastern provinces by connecting them to the Bay of Bengal area via Bangladesh and Myanmar. This will provide economic prospects and aid in the creation of job opportunities.
- It is a fantastic chance for regional collaboration as the India-Pakistan conflict turns SAARC into a battleground. The Bay also contains a wealth of unexplored natural riches. Every year, one-fourth of the world's traded products pass through the Bay.
- Allows India to resist China's influence in the area around the Bay of Bengal as its Belt and Road Initiative spreads.
- China expands its regional initiatives, such as port calls in Sri Lanka, support for tiny island nations in the Indian Ocean area, and large connectivity projects. As China asserts itself in the Bay of Bengal region, with increasing submarine activity & ship visits in the Indian Ocean, it is in India's best interests to strengthen its internal involvement among the BIMSTEC members.
- Almost 300 million people live in the four coastal states adjacent to the Bay of Bengal (Andhra Pradesh, Orissa, Tamil Nadu, and West Bengal), and approximately 45 million people in landlocked Northeastern states will be able to connect to Bangladesh, Myanmar, and Thailand via the Bay of Bengal, allowing for development opportunities.
- From a geopolitical standpoint, the Malacca Straits, a chokepoint between the Indian Ocean and the Pacific area, has emerged as a critical theater for an increasingly aggressive China in preserving its access route to the Indian Ocean.
Challenges Faced with BIMSTEC
Broad Focus Areas: BIMSTEC's focus is broad, encompassing 14 areas of cooperation such as connectivity, public health, agriculture, and so on. It is advised that BIMSTEC remain dedicated to narrow emphasis areas and collaborate well in them.
No FTA: Although the BIMSTEC FTA was agreed upon in 2004, it has yet to be signed.
Bilateral Issues Among Member Nations: Bangladesh is dealing with one of the world's biggest refugee crises, with Rohingya Muslims fleeing persecution in Myanmar's Rakhine state. Myanmar and Thailand are at odds across their shared border.
BCIM The development of another sub-regional project, the Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Forum, with China as a proactive participant, has cast more doubt on BIMSTEC's unique potential.
|Membership||Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Shri Lanka, Thailand|
|Establishment||6 June 1997; 24 Years ago|
|BIMSTEC GDP||US$ 4.4 trillion (2022)|