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ADB stresses energy cooperation among BIMSTEC members

  • Published at 10:22 pm February 26th, 2020
ADB stresses energy cooperation among BIMSTEC members
Guests attend a seminar on ‘Enhancing Energy Cooperation in the BIMSTEC Region’ that concluded at the BIMSTEC Secretariat in the capital on Wednesday, February 26, 2020 Mehedi Hasan/Dhaka Tribune

For a maximum output, its member countries were required to demonstrate stronger leadership in attaining their expected growth

Asian Development Bank’s Country Director Manmohan Parkash on Wednesday said BIMSTEC member countries would get rid of global energy price fluctuation through regional energy cooperation.

“The region with a 1.65 billion population has a huge prospect in energy security, but still it has to import energy to meet their growing demands,” Manmohan said on the concluding day of a conference on "Enhancing Energy Cooperation in the BIMSTEC Region” held at the BIMSTEC Secretariat in the capital.

The member countries needed to focus more on how to ensure the best use of energy resources, he added.

The bloc of seven countries organised the conference in collaboration with the South Asia Regional Initiative for Energy Integration (SARI/EI) of USAID.

Micheal Satin, regional program director at clean energy and environment office in USAID, India, said the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) had a great potential to grow. 

For a maximum output, its member countries were required to demonstrate stronger leadership in attaining their expected growth.

“They can easily convince development partners for different projects including that for energy cooperation through their leadership roles. A strong political commitment is also required in this regard,” he said.    

The countries of South Asia ironically imported energy despite having prosperous energy resources of their own, he said, adding that building cross-border energy connectivity was also a major challenge for the countries.

“We still encourage regional power connectivity across the BIMSTEC region,” he said.

On 31 August 2018, the countries struck a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for installing the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection to enhance energy cooperation among them. 

In his closing remarks, BIMSTEC Secretary General M Shahidul Islam reiterated that the platform could play a crucial role in establishing an integrated power grid for the region. 

“We’re looking forward to seeing a bolstered regional connectivity, thus, helping all members states expand their economy,” he said.

Japanese Ambassador to Dhaka, Naoki ITO, said a coordinated regional power grid would not only benefit the countries, but also positively impact states that were not BIMSTEC members. 

Bangladesh Energy Regulatory Commission Chairman Md Abdul Jalil was among speakers at the conference.