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Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Nepal on Thursday to attend the 4th BIMSTEC Summit that will focus on enhancing regional connectivity and boosting trade.

PM Modi said on Wednesday that his participation in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit in Kathmandu signals India’s highest priority to its neighborhood and a strong commitment to continue deepening ties with the “extended neighborhood” in South-East Asia.

In a statement before leaving for Nepal for the two-day summit, PM Modi said he will interact with the leaders of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand on the margins of the summit whose theme is ‘Towards a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal region’.

“I also look forward to meeting Prime Minister of Nepal KP Sharma Oli and reviewing the progress we have made in our bilateral ties since my last visit to Nepal in May 2018,” he said.

PM Modi said he and PM Oli will inaugurate the Nepal Bharat Maitri Dharmashala at the Pashupatinath temple complex.

The Summit’s theme, PM Modi said, will enable the member-countries to shape a collective response to their common aspirations and challenges.

The BIMSTEC is a regional grouping comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal. The grouping accounts for 22 percent of the global population.

BIMSTEC- a regional organization is rapidly gaining momentum as a strong economic and strategic grouping. During the summit, leaders are expected to hold discussions on the wide range of issues including security and counterterrorism, transport and communications, environment, disaster management and strengthening economic cooperation.

BIMSTEC or Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation is a grouping of seven countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka. The bloc accounts for nearly 22% of the world’s population and has a combined GDP of over $2.8 trillion.

Most importantly, these countries share a common heritage as well as aspirations for peace, prosperity, and development.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral talks with leaders of BIMSTEC countries on the sidelines of the summit. This is Prime Minister Modi’s fourth visit to Nepal during his current tenure and symbolizes growing regional integration between the South Asian and South East Asian regions.

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