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UPSC Syllabus: GS Paper II – International Relation          

Context: Government of India expressed commitment about taking the Bay of Bengal community to “new heights”. The statement was made by External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar at the ministerial meet of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation), which was held virtually. The meeting drew participation from all the seven-member States, including Myanmar which is witnessing a large-scale crackdown against anti-military protesters. His Excellency Mr. Dinesh Gunawardena was elected as Chairperson of the 17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting.  Sri Lanka plans to hold the fifth BIMSTEC Summit soon, which shall take important decisions to make the organization more focused and also more result-oriented.

Initiatives undertaken under BIMSTEC Umbrella

  • BIMSTEC Startup Conclave
  • BIMSTEC Military Exercise
  • BIMSTEC Ministerial Conclave at the India Mobile Congress 2018
  • 2nd BIMSTEC Disaster Management Exercise
  • BIMSTEC Seminar on Climate Smart Farming Systems
  • Training of BIMSTEC Diplomats at the Foreign Service Institute, etc.
  • Organizing Tri-Services Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief – HADR Exercise – code-named ‘Tiger Triumph’ is aimed at developing inter-operability between the militaries of the two countries in HADR operations.
  • BIMSTEC Centre for Weather and Climate, being hosted in India, is fully functional with the state of the art facilities to provide Disaster Early Warnings.

Initiatives under way

  • Finalization of the BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity – an important step towards fulfilling the aspirations of the people of our region for better connectivity and integration.
  • BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement and the Motor Vehicles Agreement – Provide legal framework for smooth connectivity in the region by finalizing the
  • BIMSTEC Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime and illicit Drug Trafficking – has come into force last month.
  • BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters has been finalized for signing at the fifth BIMSTEC Summit. These Conventions will provide a robust legal basis to further strengthen cooperation in the sector of security.
  • MoU for Cooperation among Diplomatic Academies and Training Institutions of BIMSTEC Member States and MoA for Establishment of Technology Transfer Facility in Colombo have been finalized for signing at the next Summit.


  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization comprising seven Member States lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity.
  • This sub-regional organization came into being on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration. It constitutes seven Member States: five deriving from South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and two from Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Thailand.
  • Initially, the economic bloc was formed with four Member States with the acronym ‘BIST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation).
  • Following the inclusion of Myanmar on 22 December 1997 during a special Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok, the Group was renamed ‘BIMST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation).
  • With the admission of Nepal and Bhutan at the 6th Ministerial Meeting (February 2004, Thailand), the name of the grouping was changed to ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (BIMSTEC).
  • The regional group constitutes a bridge between South and South East Asia and represents a reinforcement of relations among these countries. BIMSTEC has also established a platform for intra-regional cooperation between SAARC and ASEAN members.

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