External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj will travel to Nepal next week to attend the 15th Bimstec Foreign Minister’s meeting to be held in Kathmandu, it was announced on Friday.
The meeting of the Bimstec Foreign Ministers on August 10-11 would discuss progress on the implementation of the agenda of action agreed at the leaders’ retreat and on all other agreed areas of cooperation in the run-up to the 4th Bimstec Summit to be hosted by Bimstec chair, Nepal, later this year, External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay said in his final weekly media briefing here.
The leaders’ retreat of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) comprising Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand was held in Goa in October last year on the margins of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China South Africa) Summit.
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.
With the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) virtually rendered ineffective as a bloc, largely due to non-cooperation on the part of Pakistan in a number of areas, India has been giving more importance to Bimstec in recent times.
“Bimstec is observing its 20th anniversary this year and it has seen a renewed momentum since the leaders’ retreat hosted by India in Goa in October last year,” Baglay said Thursday’s briefing.