Members of Bimstec share common problems and enemies, and working together with neighbours has become an essential aspect of progress
Regional cooperation is a key component for further progress, not just for the benefit of the region, but for individual nations.
This is all the more true for a country with ambitious development goals like Bangladesh.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, or Bimstec, is one such initiative which has immense potential to revamp the area in multiple sectors.
In this regard, the prime minister’s plans to not only put Bangladesh fully behind Bimstec, but to categorize 14 sectors into several groups to further synergize and take advantage of the relationship regional entities share with each other, is definitely a step towards to tapping into the potential of Bangladesh and its neighbours.
The three “clusters” suggested by the PM are sustainable development, security, and stability, and people-to-people contact. Since there are multiple sectors varied and diverse sectors -- from science and technology and poverty alleviation to security and counter-terrorism -- such a plan to divvy up responsibilities and create a more focused approach to tackling problems and implementing solutions makes perfect sense.
In the 21 years since Bimstec’s inception, despite being a most dynamic region boasting 22% of the world’s population and a combined GDP of $2.8 trillion, there has been little to moderate success.
As the PM has rightly stated, to further enhance cooperation between regions, we need to “consolidate fundamental legal framework” which would pave the way towards better results.
Members of Bimstec share common problems and enemies, and working together with neighbours has become an essential aspect of progress in an increasingly globalized world.
Moving forward, Bangladesh would do well to nurture these relationships -- an essential step towards middle-income status.