Wednesday, March 05, 2014

Terrorism: BIMSTEC leaders vow to jointly combat terrorism

Source: IRNA

New Delhi, Mar 5, IRNA -- Leaders of 7-nation BIMSTEC Tuesday vowed to jointly combat the growing threat of terrorism, transnational crimes and drug trafficking and agreed to intensify efforts to enhance connectivity and cooperation in areas like trade, energy and environment

The 3rd BIMSTEC Summit Declaration, issued at the end of the meeting of leaders from India, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Myanmar, Bhutan and Nepal in Nay Pyi, Mayanmar, said the members recognized the threat that terrorism poses to peace, stability and economic progress and agreed for closer cooperation in combating all forms of terrorism and transnational crimes, the PTI reported.

The leaders called for expediting the ratification for entry into force of the BIMSTEC Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Transnational Organized Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking and also for the early signing of the BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Assistance in Criminal Matters, the two issues flagged by Prime Minister Manmohan Singh in his address to the summit.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) brings together over 20 percent of the world population, which is about 1.5 billion, and a GDP of over USD 2.5 trillion.

Three pacts were inked at the day-long Summit. One was a Memorandum of Association on the BIMSTEC Permanent Secretariat which will be set up in Dhaka to coordinate and facilitate the implementation of activities and projects agreed by the grouping. It was signed by External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid and his counterparts from the other six countries.

A Memorandum of Association was signed for establishment of a BIMSTEC Center for Weather and Climate in India to promote cooperation in identified areas of fundamental and applied scientific research in weather prediction and climate modeling and capacity building in weather and climate research.

A memorandum of Understanding was also signed for setting up of a BIMSTEC Cultural Industries Commission and BIMSTEC Cultural Industries Observatory by the foreign ministers of the grouping.

The declaration said that the leaders decided to move forward towards finalisation of the draft Agreement on Trade in goods with agreed general rules of origin and project specific rules. It was also decided to work in the direction of signing an agreement on dispute settlement procedures and another on cooperation and mutual assistance in customs matters under the framework agreement on the BIMSTEC Free Trade Area.

The leaders agreed to enhance cooperation in the field of agriculture, including crops, livestock and horticulture besides fisheries.

They resolved to enhance cooperation in environmental protection and sustainable development and promote capacity building in the area of disaster management.

BIMSTEC leaders also agreed to enhance cooperation in the health sector, including on traditional medicine.

They reinforced their commitment to expand efforts to further promote people-to-people exchanges and linkages at various levels among BIMSTEC countries, including facilitating travels by easing visa norms.

Welcoming the setting up of BIMSTEC Network of Policy Think Tanks, they agreed to cooperate and coordinate for organizing short-term activities such as workshops, seminars and exchange programs.

Sumith Nakandala of Sri Lanka was appointed as the first Secretary General of BIMSTEC. Nepal will be the new chair, taking over from Myanmar.