BIMSTEC needs to reinvent itself (The Hindu, International relation, GS-2)

Context:-The foreign ministers of BIMSTEC  met virtually on April 1.

History:-

  • In 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
  • 4 Member States with the acronym ‘BIST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Sri-Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation).
  • Nepal and Bhutan included in 2004.
  • Members are
    • Five are from South Asia –
      • Bangladesh
      • Bhutan
      • India
      • Nepal
      • Sri Lanka
    • Two are from Southeast Asia –
      • Myanmar
      • Thailand
  • initial 20 years this group was dormant but due to faltering of SAARC in 2016 this group got the oxygen and revived.
  • since then we have regular meeting, working on BIMSTEC Charter.
  • Recent study of FIICI shows that BIMSTEC must have comprehensive free trade economic cooperation agreement.
    • It should cover
      • trade in goods, services and investment
      • promote regulatory harmonization
      • adopt policies that develop regional value chains
      • eliminate non-tariff barriers.
  • What has achieved till now
    • Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief and security
    • counterterrorism
    • cyber security
    • coastal security cooperation
  • Hurdles which must be over come or way forward
    • cordial and tension-free bilateral relations among all its member-states.
    • uncertainties over SAARC hovers
    • China’s decisive intrusion in the South-Southeast Asian space
    • the military coup in Myanmar, brutal crackdown of protesters

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