Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba stressed the need to breathe new life into BIMSTEC by pooling the strengths of resources of its Member States.
Addressing virtually the Fifth Summit of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) held in hybrid mode in and from Colombo, Sri Lanka, the Prime Minister stated that BIMSTEC must do its part to address the long term economic, social, and developmental consequences of the COVID-19 pandemic and ensure that the region builds back better.
He further stated that our race to resilience must start with a green, flexible, and inclusive recovery plan.This means action on vaccines, investment in health systems, and expansion of social protection schemes together with structural reforms and quality investment in physical and human capital, he said.
The Prime Minister also touched upon the challenges facing the region and outlined the steps the BIMSTEC Members States must take collectively in the sectors of cooperation such as trade, investment, energy, connectivity, climate change and people-to-people contacts.
Underlining that bold climate action was needed before the climate crisis passed the point of no return, he called for making the current crisis a gateway to a greener, safer, and more sustainable Bay of Bengal region. The Prime Minister dubbed Buddhism a strong connecting thread in the region and called for early operationalization of the Buddhist circuit connecting Lumbini, the birthplace of Gautam Buddha.
The Summit adopted the BIMSTEC Charter following a virtual signing ceremony.. Prime Minister signed the Charter on behalf of Nepal.
The Summit also endorsed three new instruments. Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Narayan Khadka, who participated in the Summit in person in Colombo, signed the ‘BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters and the ‘Memorandum of Association on the Establishment of Technology Transfer Facility in Colombo’ on behalf of the Government of Nepal.
Similarly, the Joint Secretary and Head of the Regional Organization Division at the Ministry Ghanshyam Bhandari signed the ‘Memorandum of Understanding on the Mutual Cooperation between Diplomatic Academies/Training Institutions of BIMSTEC Member States’.
The Nepali delegation led by the Prime Minister included Minister for Foreign Affairs Dr. Narayan Khadka, Principal Personal Secretary to the Prime Minister Bhan Bahadur Deuba, Chief Secretary Shanker Das Bairagi, Foreign Secretary Bharat Raj Paudyal and Senior Officials from the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
Leaders from all seven Member States addressed the Summit convened under the theme of ‘BIMSTEC – Towards a Resilient Region, Prosperous Economies, Healthy Peoples’. The Chairmanship of BIMSTEC, which was held by Sri Lanka for the last three and a half years, has now been handed over to Thailand.