Question-2: BIMSTEC has several achievements to its credit but can do much better as a grouping, addressing shortcomings. Explain
Answer: The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) was formed under the Bangkok declaration of 1997.
Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan are the members of BIMSTEC.
Achievements of BIMSTEC
- BIMSTEC has several achievements to its credit. It has crafted a new Charter for itself, spelling out the grouping’s vision, functions of its constituent parts, and has secured a legal personality.
- It has prioritized the sectors of cooperation, reducing them from the unwieldy 14 to the more manageable seven, with each memberstate serving as the lead country for the assigned sector.
- It has, finally, taken measures to strengthen the Secretariat, although some members are yet to extend adequate personnel support to it.
Drawbacks of BIMSTEC
- A major failure relates to the continuing inability to produce a comprehensive Free Trade Agreement (FTA) 18 years after the signing of the Framework Agreement.
- Other failures include infrastructure (roads, railways, air, river, and coastal shipping links), energy, the digital and financial domain, and institutions that bring people closer together for trade, tourism and cultural exchanges.
Thus, BIMSTEC should accelerate the region’s economic development by collaborating with the newly minted Indo Pacific Economic Framework for Prosperity (IPEF). New synergy should be created between BIMSTEC and the IPEF.
Tags: GS 2 (International affairs)
By: Prashant Tiwari