04/03/2014: Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina calls for securing a BIMSTEC region of peace, stability and prosperity
Ministry of Foreign Affairs
External Publicity Wing
Nay Pyi Taw, 04 March 2014
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina calls for securing a BIMSTEC region of peace, stability and prosperity
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina called for “purposeful connectivity to allow for free movement of peoples, goods and services” in ensuring faster development of BIMSTEC Member States, overall well-being of their peoples and closer regional integration. In that context, she stressed on prioritizing the recommendations of BIMSTEC Transport Infrastructure and Logistic Study (BTILS), with innovative and practical modalities and agreed timetable for their speedy implementation.
In order to deepen economic integration, Sheikh Hasina stressed on adoption of the four trade facilitating agreements and finalization of tariff schedule under the BIMSTEC FTA. She also called upon countries to adopt these instruments at the BIMSTEC Trade & Economic Ministers Meeting in Dhaka later this year. She hoped that this would add greater momentum to BIMSTEC in addressing various non-tariff barriers and eventually trade in services and investment.
In emphasizing broader regional connectivity, Sheikh Hasina also called for adopting sustainable energy development initiatives, including development of regional energy grids and energy markets. She particularly underscored the need for tapping significant hydropower potentials, including developing collaborative projects on bilateral or trilateral basis.
As part of a wider vision to connect the region, the Prime Minister further stressed on advancing the BIMSTEC Poverty Plan of Action and establishment of the BIMSTEC Poverty Alleviation Centre in Bangladesh. In the context of ensuring regional food security, she mooted specific proposals towards exploring potential of cooperation in agriculture sector, particularly in fisheries, livestock, horticulture.
In order to address various challenges faced by BIMSTEC countries, Sheikh Hasina emphasized that BIMSTEC would need to advance its agenda based on mutual respect, trust and equitable sharing of mutual benefits among the countries. She reiterated her commitment of ‘zero tolerance’ to terrorist acts, in any form and hoped that BIMSTEC would provide another platform to address all transnational crimes, including terrorism in the region.
The Summit leaders finally endorsed establishment of the BIMSTEC Secretariat in Dhaka. The Prime Minister thanked the leaders for their trust and confidence on Bangladesh. The Secretariat will be operational this May.
The Summit concluded with the adoption of a Declaration, with the theme of ‘partnership for harmony and prosperity’.
On the sidelines of the Summit, the Prime Ministers of Bangladesh and India held discussions on some of the bilateral issues, including energy, and prospect for further collaboration. They both agreed that the two countries need to vigorously utilize the regional platforms like BIMSTEC to advance economic synergies. Prime Minister Manmohan Singh again felicitated Sheikh Hasina for being elected as the Prime Minister for the third time and expressed the hope that continued democratic practice and institutions in Bangladesh would augur well for consolidation of democracy in South Asia.
Prime Minister also met the Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksha and the Nepalese Prime Minister Shushil Koirala on the sidelines of the Summit.
They also agreed to strengthen BIMSTEC mechanism on trade and economic mechanisms within BIMSTEC.