There are very few alternatives to having a well-established network such as Bimstec
Better late than never -- after 23 years of deliberation, the charter of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) has been finalized at last. This is a crucial step, no doubt, towards striving for greater regional cooperation among the countries involved, namely Bangladesh, India, Nepal, Bhutan, Sri Lanka, Myanmar, and Thailand.
After the finalization of the charter, further plans for collaboration are also being proposed. As previously reported by Dhaka Tribune, for the 5th summit, the Bimstec permanent working committee (BPWC) also put forward other legal documents to recommend increasing cooperation on criminal and legal matters, technology transfer facilities, diplomatic training academies, and the finalization of the Bimstec transport connectivity master plan.
The growing political conflict in the region has also been cause for concern for a while. This is exactly why we need more cooperation. With a global pandemic wreaking havoc on the world, there are very few alternatives to having a well-established network such as Bimstec. Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen echoed these sentiments, emphasizing the importance of fortifying “the institutional mechanisms and rationalization of Bimstec areas of cooperation.”
After the failure of Saarc, it had become imperative to re-think regional cooperation, and there is good reason to hope that Bimstec offers that fresh start.
As such, the participating nations must now come forth and ensure proper implementation of the proposed measures, and embark on the next part of their development journeys. There is much to be gained here.