Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation

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Bay of Bengal Initiative for
Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation
Flag of Bay of Bengal Initiative forMulti-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation  (BIMSTEC)  বঙ্গোপসাগরীয় বহুক্ষেত্রীয় প্রযুক্তিগত ও অর্থনৈতিক সহযোগীতা উদ্যোগ (বিম্‌সটেক্)  (Bengali)  बहुक्षेत्रीय तकनीकी और आर्थिक सहयोग के लिए बंगाल की खाड़ी पहल (बिम्सटेक)  (Hindi)
BIMSTEC (orthographic projection).svg
Secretariat Dhaka, Bangladesh[1]
Membership (In Alphabetical Order )
• Chairmanship
   Nepal (since 2014)
Establishment 6 June 1997; 20 years ago (1997-06-06)

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia. These are: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.[2] The BIMSTEC states are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.


On June 6, 1997, a new sub-regional grouping was formed in Bangkok and given the name BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation).[3][4] Myanmar attended the inaugural June Meeting as an observer and joined the organisation as a full member at a Special Ministerial Meeting held in Bangkok on December 22, 1997, upon which the name of the grouping was changed to BIMST-EC. Nepal was granted observer status by the second Ministerial Meeting in Dhaka in December 1998. Subsequently, full membership has been granted to Nepal and Bhutan in February 2004.

In the first Summit on July 31, 2004, leaders of the group agreed that the name of the grouping should be known as BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.[5]

BIMSTEC Headquarters is situated in Dhaka, Bangladesh, and opened by Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina. (September 13, 2014)

The main objective of BIMSTEC is technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and southeast Asian countries along the coast of the bay of Bengal. Commerce, investment, technology, tourism, human resource development, agriculture, fisheries, transport and communication, textiles, leather etc. have been included in it.

Member nations[edit]

Countries Leader Position Head of government Head of state Population




World Bank SAARC
 Bangladesh Prime minister Sheikh Hasina,

Prime Minister of Bangladesh

Abdul Hamid, President of Bangladesh 162,951,560 $205.3 bn
 Bhutan Prime minister Tshering Tobgay,

Prime Minister of Bhutan

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, King of Bhutan 797,765 $2.2 bn
 India Prime minister Narendra Modi,

Prime Minister of India

Ram Nath Kovind, President of India 1,324,171,354 $2308.0 bn
 Myanmar President Htin Kyaw, President of Myanmar 52,885,223 $68.277 bn
   Nepal Prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba,

Prime Minister of Nepal

Bidhya Devi Bhandari, President of Nepal 28,982,771 $21.6 bn
 Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe,

Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka 20,798,492 $80.4 bn
 Thailand Prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X),

King of Thailand

68,863,514 $409.724 bn

BIMSTEC priority sectors[edit]

BIMSTEC has Fourteen priority sectors cover all areas of co-operation. Six priority sectors of co-operation were identified at the 2nd Ministerial Meeting in Dhaka on November 19, 1998. They include the following:

An action plan for energy cooperation among BIMSTEC nations was adopted at the 1st Ministerial Meeting on Energy on October 4, 2005, in India.[7] A memorandum of agreement for the creation of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection was proposed by the Indian Ministry of Power and is expected to be signed by BIMSTEC member states at the BIMSTEC Energy Ministers' Meeting to be held in Nepal.[8][9]

After the 8th Ministerial Meeting in Dhaka on December 18–19, 2005, a number of new areas of cooperation emerged. The number of priority sectors of cooperation increased from 6 to 14. The seven new sectors were discussed in the 1st BIMSTEC Summit and there has been various activities to enhance those cooperations ever since. The sectors are as follows,


BIMSTEC uses the alphabetical order for the Chairmanship. The Chairmanship of BIMSTEC has been taken in rotation commencing with Bangladesh (1997–1999), India (2000) Myanmar (2001–2002), Sri Lanka (2002–2003), Thailand (2003–2005), Bangladesh (2005–2006). Bhutan asked for the skip due to some political problem. So it's turned to India (2006–2009). In November 2009, Myanmar hosted the 12th Ministerial Meeting and assumed BIMSTEC Chairmanship. The 13th Ministerial Meeting also chaired by Myanmar, which was held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar on January 22, 2011. Nepal formally took over the new Chairmanship as on March 4, 2014. Sumith Nakandala of Sri Lanka became the first Secretary General of BIMSTEC and Ambassador M. Shahidul Islam as the next Secretary General of BIMSTEC for a term of three years ( Sept 2017 to Sept 2020). [11]

Cooperation with Asian Development Bank (ADB)[edit]

The ADB has become BIMSTEC's development partner since 2005, to undertake a study which is designed to help promote and improve transport infrastructure and logistic among the BIMSTEC countries. So far, Asian Development Bank has already finished the project called BIMSTEC Transport Infrastructure and Logistic Study (BTILS). The final report of the study has been conveyed to all members and is awaiting feedback. Other fields of cooperation will be designed later on. Its headquarters is situated at Mandaluyong, Philippines.[12]

BIMSTEC Centre[edit]

At the Sixth BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting on February 8, 2004, in Phuket, Ministers endorsed the setting up of a Technical Support Facility (TSF). As reflected in the Ministerial Joint Statement, this Technical Support Facility would "serve the BIMSTEC Working Group (BWG) and to coordinate BIMSTEC activities, including those of the BIMSTEC Chamber of Commerce, for a trial period of two years." The decision by the Ministers was based upon the recommendation proposed by BIMSTEC Senior Officials who met in Bangkok on September 17–19, 2003. On this particular item, the SOM had with them a draft report prepared by Mr David Oldfield, an ESCAP consultant, on "Towards Setting up a BIMSTEC Technical Support Facility and Permanent Secretariat: Considerations and Options". The report recommended that a TSF should be set up in Bangkok and would initially serve just the BWG during the trial period of two years.

Since the Establishment of the Permanent Secretariat is awaited to consider in the 2nd Summit, which was held on 12–13 November 2008 in India, Thailand had already extended the contract of the BIMSTEC Centre for another year from June 2007 – May 2008. So far, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand had recently extended the contract for another year from 1 June 2008 – 31 May 2009.

BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement[edit]

Free Trade Area Framework Agreement to stimulate trade and investment in the parties, and attract outsiders to trade with and invest in BIMSTEC at a higher level. All members, except Bangladesh because of domestic procedure, became signatories to the Framework Agreement in the 6th Ministerial Meeting, as witnessed by the Prime Minister of Thailand and BIMSTEC's Foreign Ministers.

Bangladesh later joined the Framework Agreement on June 25, 2004. The Trade Negotiating Committee (TNC) was set up and had its 1st Meeting in Bangkok on September 7–8 , 2004. As stated in the adopted Terms of Reference, Thailand would be the permanent chair of TNC although the host country shall be rotated. The chair and each country's chief negotiator act as TNC's spokepersons, while TNC's chairperson will report the result via STEOM to the Trade and Economic Ministerial Meeting. TNC's negotiation area covers trade in goods and services, investment, economic co-operation, as well as trade facilitations and also technical assistance for LDCs in BIMSTEC. It was agreed that once negotiation on trade in goods is completed, the TNC would then proceed with negotiation on trade in services and investment.

BIMSTEC Member States discuss draft text of Coastal Shipping Agreement on December 1, 2017 at New Delhi.

Member States of BIMSTEC ( Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation ) met in New Delhi this week to discuss modalities for promoting coastal shipping in the region. In this first meeting of the Working Group on 27th and 28th of November, member countries discussed the draft text of BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement drafted by the Ministry of Shipping, Government of India. The objective of the above agreement is to facilitate coastal shipping in the region, thereby giving a boost to trade between the member countries. The agreement would apply to coastal shipping, that is shipping within 20 nautical miles of the coastline. The requirements for movement of vessels in this part of the sea are different from standard requirements of deep sea shipping. Coastal ship movements require smaller vessels and lesser draft, and therefore, involve lower costs. Once the agreement is ratified by the member countries and becomes operational, a lot of cargo movement between the member countries can be done through the cost effective, environment friendly and faster coastal shipping route.

BIMSTEC Summits[edit]

No. Date Host country Host city
1st 31 July 2004  Thailand Bangkok
2nd 13 November 2008  India New Delhi
3rd 4 March 2014  Myanmar Nay Pyi Taw[13]

Current leaders of BIMSTEC[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ "Nepal unlikely to host fourth 'Bimstec' summit this year". Business Standard India. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 
  2. ^
  3. ^ Haidar, Suhasini (15 October 2016). "BIMSTEC a sunny prospect in BRICS summit at Goa". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  4. ^ "BRICS Summit 2016: BIMSTEC members have economic opportunities to share, said Narendra Modi – The Economic Times". The Economic Times. Retrieved 16 October 2016. 
  5. ^ See for a detailed historical account of the founding and evolution of BIST-EC and BIMST-EC e.g. Michael, Arndt (2013). India's Foreign Policy and Regional Multilateralism (Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 145–163.
  6. ^ "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10 September 2017. 
  7. ^ "Energy". Retrieved 2017-12-06. 
  8. ^ "India Cabinet Approves Signing of BIMSTEC Power Grid Pact | News | South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation". Retrieved 2017-12-06. 
  9. ^ "Nepal to join BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection". Retrieved 2017-12-06. 
  10. ^
  11. ^ "Third BIMSTEC Summit Declaration". Retrieved 12 March 2014. 
  12. ^
  13. ^ "BIMSTEC Summit". Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. Retrieved 17 December 2016. 

External links[edit]