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8th Meeting of Agriculture Experts of BIMSTEC

  • Category
    International Relations
  • Published
    6th Sep, 2021

Context

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.
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