Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) | IAS Target IAS Target

Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation

The BIMSTEC states are those that are dependent on the Bay of Bengal and are located on its shores or near it. It was established on June 6, 1997, by the Bangkok Declaration, and is based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
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:
The BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity; and The BIMSTEC Center for Weather and Climate, which is being hosted in India, is fully operational and equipped with cutting-edge technology to offer Disaster Early Warnings. Other member nations praised Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi's initiatives such as the BIMSTEC Startup Conclave in January 2021, the BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise in Puri in February 2020, and the Conference on Combating Drug Trafficking for BIMSTEC nations in February 2020.
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
Secretariat Dhaka
Population 1.5 billion people
GDP $3.5 trillion (2018)
Member states Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Thailand, Sri Lanka, Nepal, and Bhutan

The suggestion to hold the 5th BIMSTEC Summit in Sri Lanka in the coming months was also warmly received.
  • On May 31, 2021, the 24th BIMSTEC Day was commemorated.

BIMSTEC - Key Information

What is BIMSTEC's full name?

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical & Economic Cooperation is a multi-sectoral technical and economic cooperation initiative in the Bay of Bengal.

How many nations are BIMTEC members?

BIMSTEC is composed of seven nations.

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?

The Bangkok Declaration established it in 1997.

What exactly is BIST-EC?

BIMSTEC began with four members:
Thailand and Sri Lanka
BIST-EC is an acronym that stands for Economic Cooperation.

When did Myanmar become a member of BIMSTEC?

BIST-EC was renamed BIMST-EC in December 1997.

When did Nepal and Bhutan become members of BIMSTEC?

2004; and then the current name 'BIMSTEC' was adopted.

What are the BIMSTEC collaboration areas?

Ř Agriculture, Trade and Investment, Technology, Energy, Transportation, Communication, Tourism, People-to-People Contact, Fisheries, Cultural Cooperation, Environment and Disaster Management, Cultural Cooperation, Public Health, Poverty Alleviation, Counter-Terrorism, and Transnational Crime

BIMSTEC - Mission Statement

Southeast Asian and South Asian countries around the Bay of Bengal's coast are collaborating on technology and economy.
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.

BIMSTEC Principles

  • 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

  1. On March 21, 2017, India held the inaugural meeting of BIMSTEC member states' national security chiefs in New Delhi.
  2. The meeting's purpose was to address the member countries' common security problems.
  3. 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.
  4. 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.
  5. An agreement was reached to develop collective security policies that recognize the Bay of Bengal as a shared security environment.
  6. 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

BIMSTEC does not appear to have made much progress, even though there was little bilateral conflict —
Neglected by member states: It appears that India has used BIMSTEC only when it has been unable to operate via SAARC in the regional setting, while other important members such as Thailand and Myanmar are more focused on ASEAN than BIMSTEC.
Inconsistent Meetings: Although BIMSTEC intended to have summits every two years plus ministers conferences every year, just four summits have been convened in the previous 20 years.
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.
Secretariat Dhaka, Bangladesh
Official Language English
Membership Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Shri Lanka, Thailand
Establishment 6 June 1997; 24 Years ago
Population 1.73 Billion
BIMSTEC GDP US$ 4.4 trillion (2022)
No. Date Host Country Host City 1st 2004 Thailand Bangkok 2nd 2008 India New Delhi 3rd 2014 Myanmar Naypyidaw 4th 2018 Nepal Kathmandu 5th 2022 Sri Lanka Colombo