PM Modi arrives in Kathmandu for BIMSTEC summit

Kathmandu, Aug 30 : Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived in Kathmandu on Thursday to participate in the two-day Fourth Bimstec Summit that will focus on enhancing regional connectivity and boosting trade.

“The Prime Minister landed in Kathmandu a short while ago. He will be taking part in the Bimstec Summit being held in the city,” Modi’s office tweeted around 9 a.m.

Ahead of his departure, Modi on Wednesday said that his participation in the event symbolises the priority India accords to deepening ties with India’s extended neighbourhood in Southeast Asia.

“My participation in the Summit symbolises India’s highest priority to our neighbourhood and our strong commitment to continue deepening our relationship with the extended neighbourhood in Southeast Asia,” he said in a pre-departure statement in New Delhi.

“During the Summit, I will have interactions with all the leaders of Bimstec (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) to further enrich our regional cooperation, enhance our trade ties and advance our collective efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous Bay of Bengal region,” he said.

Bimstec came into existence on June 6, 1997, through the Bangkok Declaration.

It comprises seven countries lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal — Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

BIMSTEC- a regional organisation for a strong economic and strategic grouping. During the summit, leaders are expected to hold discussions on wide range of issues including security and counter terrorism, transport and communications, environment, disaster management and strengthening economic cooperation.

BIMSTEC or Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, is a grouping of seven countries including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Thailand and Sri Lanka. The bloc accounts for nearly 22% of the world’s population, and has a combined GDP of over $2.8 trillion.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will hold bilateral talks with leaders of BIMSTEC countries on the sidelines of the summit. This is Prime Minister Modi’s fourth visit to Nepal during his current tenure and symbolises growing regional integration between the South Asian and South East Asian regions.

The main objective of Bimstec is technical and economic cooperation among South Asian and Southeast Asian countries along the rim of the Bay of Bengal.

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