The 17th session of senior officials' meeting of BIMSTEC will be held in Kathmandu on 7 February 2016.
The Indian delegation at the session is being led by Secretary Preeti Saran.
• The session will be chaired by Shanker Das Bairagi, the Foreign Secretary and Head of Nepal Delegation.
• The day-long meeting will include a review of the progress made by the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).
• It will also include a discussion over the future course of action on strengthening cooperation among the group’s member countries.
• At the end of the session, a report on various activities of the group is expected to be adopted.
• The session is also expected to announce the date of the 4th BIMSTEC summit, which is to be held in Nepal later this year.
The significance of the group was brought to the front during the BRICS- BIMSTEC Outreach summit, which was held in Goa in October 2016. In fact, the Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi himself had expressed his desire to promote the regional group and had assured his full cooperation in the group’s future actions.
• Founded in 1997, The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization comprising seven Member States lying along the shore of the Bay of Bengal.
• The member states include India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Nepal.
• Initially, the bloc included just four member states and was called BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation).
• Myanmar was included later during a special Ministerial meeting in Bangkok and the group was renamed BIMST-EC.
• The name was changed to BIMSTEC with the admission of Nepal and Bhutan at the 6th Ministerial meeting in Thailand in February 2004.
• The group constitutes a bridge between South Asia and South East Asia.
• It has also created a platform for intra-regional cooperation between SAARC and ASEAN members.
• The main objective behind its creation was to harness a shared growth through cooperation in different areas of common interest.