BIMSTEC leaders on Friday adopted a declaration affirming solemn commitment to making the Bay of Bengal Region peaceful, prosperous and sustainable by building on common strengths through collective efforts of the member states.
The leaders adopted the Kathmandu Declaration as the 4th Summit of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation concluded at the Nepalese capital of Kathmandu.
The heads of states, governments and representatives of the seven-nation regional grouping, including prime minister Sheikh Hasina, were present at the concluding session of the two-day summit at the Soaltee Hotel in Kathmandu.
Prime minister of Nepal KP Sharma Oli handed over the chairmanship of the BIMSTEC to Sri Lankan president Maitripala Sirisena in presence of other leaders, including prime minister of India Narendra Modi and president of Myanmar Win Myint.
In the declaration, the BIMSTEC leaders resolved to achieve leveraging on BIMSTEC’s unique position as a bridge linking South and Southeast Asia, an enhanced level of economic and social development in the region.
They agreed to remain fully committed to consolidating and deepening cooperation among member states towards transforming organisation into an effective platform to promote peace, prosperity and sustainability.
The leaders reiterated their strong commitment to combat terrorism and called upon all the member countries to devise a comprehensive approach in this regard.
The comprehensive approach should include preventing financing of terrorists and terrorist actions from territories under their control, blocking recruitment and cross-border movement of terrorists, countering radicalization and misuse of internet for purposes of terrorism, and dismantling terrorist safe havens, they said in a joint declaration titled Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous and Sustainable Bay of Bengal Region.
The BIMSTEC leaders affirmed 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.
They reiterated their pledge to work collectively towards making BIMSTEC a stronger, more effective and result-oriented organisation for achieving a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal Region.
The leaders underlined the importance of multidimensional connectivity, which promotes synergy among connectivity frameworks in the region, as a key enabler to economic integration for shared prosperity.
They took into consideration the importance of trade and investment as one of the major contributing factors for fostering economic and social development in the region.
The BIMSTEC leaders stressed the need for a fair, just, rule-based, equitable and transparent international order and reaffirming faith in the multilateralism with the United Nations at the centre and the rule-based international trading system.
They underscored the importance of robust institutional arrangements to effectively steering the process of regional cooperation under BIMSTEC.
The leaders agreed to enhance the institutional capacity of the BIMSTEC Secretariat in Dhaka, including through financial and human resources, to enable it to coordinate, monitor and facilitate implementation of BIMSTEC activities and programmes.
Prime minister Sheikh Hasina returned home in the afternoon after attending the two-day Summit.
The BIMSTEC came into being on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
It comprises seven member states – five from South Asia (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka) and two from Southeast Asia (Myanmar and Thailand).
Want stories like this in your inbox?
Sign up to exclusive daily email
More Stories from South Asia