Union External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Tuesday said that terrorism, transnational crimes and cyber attacks hurt economic development effort.

“We cannot ignore the challenges that terrorism and violent extremism, as also transnational crime and narco-trafficking or indeed new challenges such as cyber-attacks, pose to all of us,” Jaishankar said.

Addressing a ministerial meeting at the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, or BIMSTEC summit in Colombo, he called for more effective collaboration between law enforcement agencies of various countries.

BIMSTEC is a regional organisation established in 1997. The member countries of BIMSTEC are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand. Sri Lanka is hosting this year’s BIMSTEC summit.

Jaishankar added that countries must recognise that they are facing headwinds from both their domestic economies and the global economy as the crisis in Ukraine has hit even as the challenges of the Covid -19 pandemic have not yet fully abated.

“Under these circumstances, as we shore up our domestic capacities, we also need to broaden and deepen cooperation under BIMSTEC,” Jaishankar said. “We need more working together in many more areas; we need more effective and fast paced cooperation.”

He also urged member countries of the BIMSTEC to accelerate cooperation and work on a more ambitious trade facilitation agenda.

“We must accelerate our efforts to boost intra-BIMSTEC trade and economic ties,” he said. “The development of a network of regional supply and value chains will reduce our vulnerability to external shocks and give our economies greater resilience and transparency.”