After much stalling of the SAARC process, and India’s push and promotion of it, Nepal has decided to host the Bimstec (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Summit in August on 30th and 31st.
The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Nepal announced on Monday that the summit will be held in Kathmandu.
Bimstec includes country members Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand, and works towards greater regional cooperation.
India had been the host country for BRICS Outreach Summit in Goa in 2016 and had hosted the Bimstec leaders at that time as well.
“We have already started preparations to hold the summit and ensure its success,” Nepal’s Foreign Minister Pradeep Gyawali told reporters.
“This is an important regional gathering taking place in Kathmandu after the promulgation of Nepal’s new Constitution and formation of the new government. The government attaches high importance to the summit,” he said.
Nepal will be the hosting chair for this year’s summit; India and all other six member states are expected to be participating.
A meeting of senior officials will be held on August 28, followed by a ministerial meeting on August 30. The meeting of heads of state and government will be held on August 31.
The summit is the highest policy-making and decision-making platform for the Bimstec process.
Bimstec focuses on 14 areas of cooperation, including trade and investment, technology, energy, transport and communications, tourism, fisheries, agriculture, cultural cooperation, environment and natural disasters, public health, poverty alleviation, people-to-people contacts, counter-terrorism, and climate change.