Fifteenth BIMSTEC Ministerial Meetinghasappointed Bangladesh’s candidate Ambassador M. Shahidul Islam as the next Secretary General of BIMSTEC for a term of three years. Mr. Islam is currently serving as the Ambassador of Bangladesh to France.Earlieron 10August 2017, theSeniorOfficials’MeetingrecommendedappointmentofSecretaryGeneralofBangladeshasthetourofdutyofthefirst Secretary General expired on 10 August 2017.
Foreign Minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali, M.P led Bangladesh delegation to the Fifteenth BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting. As the current Chair of BIMSTEC, Foreign Minister of Nepal Mr. Krishna Bahadur Mahara chairedthe Meeting.Earlier, on 10 August 2017, Nepal’s Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deubainaugurated the Meeting and the Foreign Ministers of BIMSTEC Member States paid a joint call on the Prime Minister of Nepal. PrimeMinisterDeubaemphasizedontheneedfor developing connectivity alongwithotherareasofcooperation tounleashpotentialsforeconomicdevelopmentof BIMSTEC countries. Among others, Bhutan’s Foreign Minister LyonpoDamchoDorji and India’s External Affairs MinisterSushma Swarajattended the Meeting. This Foreign Minister Level Meeting of BIMSTEC washeld after more than three years.
The Ministerial Meeting took stock of the progress made in the Fourteen Areas of Cooperation and on the outcome of the BIMSTEC Leader’s Retreat held in Goa, India in October 2016 on the sideline of BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand are the Members of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC). This sub-regional grouping of South and South East Asian Nations has completed 20 years since its inception as BIST-EC in 1997 through Bangkok Declaration.
During the Meeting, Foreign Minister MahmoodAli called upon the Member States to review past performances, renew commitment and reframe strategy to transform BIMSTEC as one of the most dynamic regional organizations of the 21stCentury. Foreign Minister urged the Member States to conclude BIMSTEC Free Trade Area negotiations for its early implementation and stressed to enhance cooperation in science and technology and ICT sectors, climate change, culture and tourism and blue economy, among others.Foreign Minister Mahmood Ali requested the member states to give a big push together to bring in dynamism in the areas of cooperation of BIMSTEC.
BIMSTEC Member States including Bangladesh updated the meeting of their initiatives, and the BIMSTEC programmes and events they would undertakein2017 and beyond. BIMSTEC ForeignMinistersexpressed their unequivocal commitments to strengthen cooperation under the aegis of BIMSTEC and stressed to implement directives of the BIMSTEC Leaders. Ministers agreed to prioritize sectorial cooperation especially on trade, connectivity, energy, disaster management, technology, poverty alleviation and countering terrorism and violent extremism and speedy implementation of the pledges and commitments already made.
The Fifteenth BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting held in Kathmandu, Nepal on 10-11 August 2017preceded by the Eighteenth Session of the BIMSTEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM). Foreign Secretary Md. ShahidulHaque led the Bangladesh delegation to theSOM.As per practice Senior Officials’ Meeting examined, considered and recommended a series of agenda items including appointment of Secretary General for the endorsement of the Ministerial Meeting.