Member states at the fourth Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation summit, or BIMSTEC, in Kathmandu, Nepal signed a declaration on Friday, outlining their plan to ensure peace in the region. BIMSTEC is a regional group comprising India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
The signatories to the declaration agreed that the “fight against terrorism should target not only terrorists, terror organisations and networks but also identify and hold accountable states and non-state entities that encourage, support or finance terrorism, provide sanctuaries to terrorists and terror groups and falsely extol their virtues”.
The 18-point Kathmandu Declaration intends to increase the effectiveness of the BIMSTEC secretariat through various technical and economic activities in the region.
Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted that Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other heads of government had made a commitment to “reinvigorate the BIMSTEC process”, after the the two-day event ended in Kathmandu on Friday.
Earlier in the day, Modi met his Thailand counterpart Prayuth Chan-ocha on the sidelines of the summit. “Their discussions focused on strengthening bilateral cooperation between India and Thailand,” the Prime Minister’s Office tweeted.
Modi also met Dasho Tshering Wangchuk, chief advisor of the interim government of Bhutan, and Myanmar President Win Myint.
India’s Minister of State for External Affairs VK Singh signed a memorandum of understanding along with foreign ministers of other countries on interconnecting the energy grid, Kumar tweeted. “The MoU provides for optimisation of using energy resources in the region and promotion of efficient and secure operation of power system, among other things,” he said.
Nepal Prime Minister KP Oli, who is the chairperson of BIMSTEC, handed over the position to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena in a ceremony.
Modi tweeted saying his meeting with Oli covered several aspects of India ties with Nepal. “We discussed ways to further deepen our economic, trade and cultural ties,” he said. “Enhancing connectivity between our nations was discussed as well.”
The Indian prime minister described the summit’s proceedings as productive.
Modi and Oli inaugurated a rest house called the Nepal-Bharat Maitri Pashupati Dharamshala for pilgrims in Kathmandu. The facility was built with Indian financial assistance in Kathmandu, PTI reported. “The Nepal-Bharat Maitri Pashupati Dharamshala will remind the visitors about the friendship of the two neighbours,” Modi told the gathering.