8th Meeting of Agriculture Experts of BIMSTEC
6th Sep, 2021
8th Meeting of Agriculture Experts of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Countries was hosted by India through video conferencing.
Key-highlight of the meeting
- The UN Food System Summit 2021 and transformational aspects that are happening across agriculture and food systems globally were highlighted.
- It was to enhance the engagement and deepen the cooperation in agriculture and allied sectors amongst the BIMSTEC Member States.
- The BIMSTEC Member States also appreciated the greater engagement of India in offering six slots of scholarships for Master and PhD programmes in agriculture and other initiatives for capacity development & training.
What is BIMSTEC?
- BIMSTEC is an economic bloc that came into being on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
- BIMSTEC headquarters is located in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
- Sectors were later expanded to 14 areas of cooperation.
- Agriculture is one among the 14 sectors.
- Out of the 7 members,
- Five are from South Asia: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka
- Two are from Southeast Asia: Myanmar, Thailand
- BIMSTEC not only connects South and Southeast Asia, but also the ecologies of the Great Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal.
- BIMSTEC has emerged as the “preferred platform” for regional cooperation in South Asia.
- It mainly aims to create an enabling environment for
- Rapid economic development
- Accelerate social progress
- Promote collaboration on matters of common interest in the region
BIMSTEC Importance to India: It provides a new platform for India to engage with its neighbours with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) becoming dysfunctional because of differences between India and Pakistan.
- BIMSTEC allows India to pursue three core policies-
- Neighbourhood First – primacy to the country’s immediate periphery;
- Act East – connect India with Southeast Asia; and
- Economic development of India’s north-eastern states – by linking them to the Bay of Bengal region via Bangladesh and Myanmar.
- Allows India to counter China’s creeping influence in countries around the Bay of Bengal due to the spread of its One Belt and One Road Initiative.
- It is of utmost significance to India as it is a major support in implementing its Act East Policy and the development of its ambitious ‘Sagar Mala’ project.