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PM Modi tells BIMSTEC countries biggest opportunity is connectivity – Trade, Economic, Transport, Digital and People to people; Says India is committed to working with member countries on controlling terrorism and drug trafficking; Proposes to organize several sectoral conferences with member countries.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addressed the Plenary Session of the 4th BIMSTEC Summit in Kathmandu.

He said that all BIMSTEC nations not only share strong diplomatic relations with India and each other but are also strongly connected by civilization, history, art, language, cuisine and a shared culture.

Prime Minister Modi said that BIMSTEC is an amalgamation of India’s Act East and neighborhood first policy.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi stressed on the need for connectivity to tackle the challenges of an interconnected world as well as furthering mutual growth.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi called for the drawing up of a strong shared legal framework to tackle the challenges of terrorism and drug trafficking. He also said that women legislators have an important role to play.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi describing BIMSTEC as a shining example of India’s Act East and neighbourhood first policy. He stressed on the need for connectivity to tackle the challenges of an interconnected world while furthering mutual growth.

BIMSTEC nations are rapidly growing economies that face their share of common challenges. From climate change to terrorism to drug trafficking, the answer to tackling these issues is a collective and concerted effort by member nations. Prime Minister Modi outlined an action plan in his address at the Summit. He stressed on cooperation on the law and order front as well as the need for a strong legal framework that is binding on member nations.

Among the several initiatives, Prime Minister Modi suggested was a BIMSTEC Start-up conclave and an International Summit on Climate Smart Farming Systems for the development of all nations. He invited all leaders to attend the India Mobile Congress and BIMSTEC Ministerial meet for enhancing National Knowledge Network in the field of digital connectivity.

Prime Minister promised to establish a Centre for Bay of Bengal Studies at Nalanda University for research on arts, culture, maritime laws and other subjects. He announced several scholarships for students and researchers and as well as organizing a BIMSTEC youth Summit.

PM said that In August 2020, India will host the International Buddhist Conclave and invited all BIMSTEC member countries to participate as Guests of Honor. PM also stressed on multinational Military Training Exercises. He also called for “cooperation and coordination” in providing humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.

Before participating in BIMSTEC inaugural session, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other heads of state jointly called on President of Nepal Bidhya Devi Bhandari.

Meanwhile, the Foreign Secretary Vijay Gokhale has said that 4th BIMSTEC Summit is going to be a landmark summit for the regional grouping.

Addressing the media persons in Kathmandu on Thursday evening, Gokhale said that outcome of the deliberations of the summit is expected to set BIMSTEC on a firm institutional foundation with a very focused and reoriented directions for the future. He said that it will be done by drafting a charter for the BIMSTEC.

Gokhale also said that leaders are expected to endorse a decision of the Ministerial and Senior Officials meetings to establish a permanent working committee of the BIMSTEC. He said that all members have endorsed a proposal to rationalize the areas for cooperation to make BIMSTEC more effective and ensure deliveries.

The Foreign Secretary said that peace and stability is very essential for the growth and development of the region and keeping this in view the meeting between Home Ministers of member states will be institutionalized.  He said that a number of working groups will also be established on various areas including blue economy, disaster management, climate change, energy and ICT.

Gokhale also said that a BIMSTEC secretariat will be strengthened and a fund will be set up to help in the developmental activities of the region.

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