Fifth BIMSTEC Summit:
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) grouping’s fifth summit took place in Colombo, Sri Lanka (Host for the Fifth Summit).
- The signing of the BIMSTEC Charter was the main outcome of this summit.
- Under this Charter, the members were expected to meet once every two years.
- With the Charter, the BIMSTEC now has an international personality. It has an emblem, it has a flag.
- It has a formally listed purpose and principles that it is going to adhere to.
- In line with the development of the organisation into a formal structure, the leaders of the member-countries have agreed to divide the working of the grouping into seven segments, with India providing leadership to the security pillar.
- The summit saw the declaration of the Master Plan for Transport Connectivity that would provide a framework for regional and domestic connectivity.
- Member countries also signed a treaty on mutual legal assistance on criminal matters.
- A Memorandum of Association (MoA) on the establishment of BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility (TTF) in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
- India will provide the (BIMSTEC) secretariat USD 1 million US dollars to increase its operational budget.
- The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organisation comprising seven Member States: five deriving from South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and two from Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Thailand.
- This sub-regional organisation came into being on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
- With 21.7% of the world’s population and a combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) of USD 3.8 trillion, BIMSTEC has emerged as an influential engine of economic growth.
- The BIMSTEC Secretariat is in Dhaka.