India invites six Bimstec countries to BRICS Summit

Last Updated: Wed, Sep 28, 2016 22:45 hrs
BRICS Nations

New Delhi: India has invited the leaders of the seven-member Bimstec regional grouping, which includes immediate neighbours Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Nepal, to the eighth BRICS Summit in Goa in October.

India is to chair the BRICS Summit. Besides India, BRICS comprises Brazil, Russia, China and South Africa.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec), since its establishment in 1997 has been successful in a number of areas, but it needs to realise its full potential, Preeti Saran, Secretary (East), Ministry of External Affairs, said at an event.

"There is a great synergy between the BRICS and Bimstec countries and the BRICS Summit will help explore that," she added, according to an RIS statement on Wednesday.

Bimstec comprises seven countries -- Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

Saran was speaking at a meeting on Bimstec-BRICS Engagement: The Way Forward, organised by the Research and Information System for Developing Countries (RIS) and Bimstec Secretariat.

Talking about the challenges confronting the region, Saran said that terrorism is one of the biggest challenges and the whole world is grappling with it.

She also talked about the enormous opportunities and advantages each Bimstec country has in number of areas like trade, blue economy, tourism especially cruise tourism and Buddhist tourism, and energy security, among many others.

Sachin Chaturvedi, Director General, RIS, said the aim is to explore key issues that are important when BRICS and Bimstec come together, including bilateral and people-to-people connectivity and how global value chains can be strengthened.

Sumith Nakandala, Secretary General of Bimstec, said the consultation held on Tuesday is important in terms of reactivating Bimstec Network of Policy Think Tanks. He expressed concern regarding lack of leadership in Bimstec.

Alok A. Dimri, Joint Secretary (MER), Ministry of External Affairs, said there is need to converge the synergies of the two blocs.

G. Seetharaman Reddy, Additional Director General, Foreign Trade, Ministry of Commerce and Industry, said that Bimstec does not get the attention it deserves. However, it has its own flavour; thus it should not be compared with any other regional organisations.

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