• Tuesday, Dec 07, 2021
  • Last Update : 03:54 pm

Bimstec charter finalized 23 years after inception

  • Published at 10:07 pm September 2nd, 2020
BIMSTEC logo
BIMSTEC logo

Next Bimstec summit to be held in January 2021

At long last, the charter of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) has been finalized, which is expected to move the regional organization forward.

It took more than 23 years for the legal document of Bimstec, founded in June 1997, to be finalized.

The 4th Bimstec permanent working committee (BPWC) recommended the charter in its virtual meeting on Monday.

The committee also recommended some other legal documents, like the convention on cooperation on criminal and legal matters, memorandum of agreement (MOA) on technology transfer facilities, MOU on cooperation among diplomatic training academies, template of MOA on Bimstec centres and entities, and finalization of Bimstec transport connectivity master plan, to be signed during the 5th Bimstec summit.

At the 21st session of the Bimstec senior officials' meeting, held online on Wednesday, the documents were endorsed. Admiral Prof Jayanath Colombage, the foreign secretary of Sri Lanka, chaired the meeting, joined by foreign secretaries and senior officials of all the seven member states.

The charter and other instruments are due to be signed in the fifth summit of heads of states and governments of the seven member states, scheduled for January next year, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

The Bimstec member states are: Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand. 

Moreover, the meeting considered the report of 4th BPWC meeting that has finalized and recommended some more important legal documents, including the rules of procedures, procurement policy, granting GPF to local staffs, and finalization of the Bimstec organogram. 

In addition, the meeting prepared the agenda of the 17th ministerial meeting and the 5th Bimstec Summit. 

Taking part in the event, Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen put emphasis on expediting and consolidating cooperation among the members.

He expressed Bangladesh’s strong commitment to Bimstec process, and stressed the importance of strengthening the institutional mechanisms and rationalization of Bimstec areas of cooperation, keeping in mind the challenges posed by the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic. 

During the meeting, the foreign secretaries of the member states recommended the appointment of the next secretary general, Tenzin Lekphell nominated by Bhutan. 

Tenzin Lekphell, a bureaucrat turned politician, will replace the incumbent secretary general, Ambassador M Shahidul Islam from Bangladesh. 

The 5th Bimstec summit, preceded by the 17th Bimstec ministerial meeting, is proposed to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in the first half of January 2021, subject to the improved Covid-19 situation. 

Initially, the summit was proposed to be held in early September 2020, but was postponed due to the pandemic.

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