• The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organization involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia.
  • The BIMSTEC comprises of seven countries, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand
  • The BIMSTEC region is home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute around 22% of the global population
  • The region has a combined gross domestic product (GDP) of $2.7 trillion. In the last five years, BIMSTEC member states have been able to sustain an average 6.5% economic growth trajectory despite global financial meltdown
Why BIMSTEC is becoming more important for India?
The BIMSTEC is a bridge between South Asia and Southeast Asia. The two Southeast Asian countries in the grouping, Myanmar and Thailand, have a crucial place for India’s ambitious connectivity plans for North Eastern region. Myanmar is only Southeast Asian country India has a land boundary with. An India-Myanmar-Thailand highway is one of the key projects that figures in a big way in the government’s Act East (earlier Look East) policy. With the India-Pakistan bickering coming in way of a smooth functioning of the SAARC, groupings such as BIMSTEC can take forward the concept of regional cooperation in a different manner.
What are the outcomes of BIMSTEC leaders 2016 meet?
  • India has declared its commitment to play an asymmetric role in energising BIMSTEC.
  • BIMSTEC countries, endorsing the Indian stand without naming Pakistan, have slammed states which “support and finance terrorism, provide sanctuary to terrorists and terror groups”
  • The BIMSTEC also said “there should be no glorification of terrorists as martyrs” — a clear reference to Hizbul militant Burhan Wani who was killed by security forces in Kashmir in July and later hailed as a “martyr” by Pakistan
  • BIMSTEC countries have also agreed reiterated their strong commitment to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, and stress that there can be no justification for acts of terror on any grounds whatsoever
  • Additionally, BIMSTEC leaders have expressed their commitment to expedite the signing of the BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, and early ratification of the BIMSTEC Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organised Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking
What is BIMSTEC grid interconnection?
  • It is a Plan of Action for Energy Cooperation in BIMSTEC
  • In the fourth meeting of BIMSTEC held in January 2017, the MoU was discussed and finalised.
  • The MoU provides a broad framework of cooperation for the implementation of grid interconnections for the purpose of carrying out trade in electricity.
  • Its objective is to promote rational and optimal power transmission in the BIMSTEC region.
  • The MoU for the establishment of the BIMSTEC grid interconnection facilitates:
    • Optimization of energy resources in the BIMSTEC region for mutual benefits on non-discriminatory basis subject to laws, rules and regulations of the respective Parties;
    • Promotion of efficient, economic, and secure operation of power system by developing regional electricity networks;
    • Necessity of optimization of capital investment for additional capacity generation across the region; and
    • Power exchange through cross-border interconnections.
Related Questions:
  • Can BIMSTEC be a replacement for SAARC?

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