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India giving enough importance to BIMSTEC: Foreign Secy

India is giving enough importance on BIMSTEC while New Delhi would like to know Dhaka’s planning on it as Bangladesh is going to take Chair of the Bay of Bengal based regional economic bloc, said foreign secretary Masud Bin Momen today.

“India is giving enough priority on BIMSTEC –so they would like to know what’s the new chair is thinking (to BIMSTEC),” he said at a media briefing while disclosing the outcomes of his today’s meeting with Indian External Affairs Secretary (east) Shaurabh Kumar.

Kumar arrived here this morning on a two-day official visit and held a meeting with Bangladesh foreign secretary at state guest house Padma on various issues on BIMSTEC as a BIMSTEC ministerial retreat to be held on July 17 in Bangkok.

Masud said foreign minister Dr AK Abdul Momen will join the ministerial retreat to discuss various issues on upcoming BIMSTEC summit to be held in Thailand on November 30 this year where Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina will join with other heads of the governments.

Masud said that at the Summit Bangladesh would take over the chairmanship of BIMSTEC while the next Secretary General of the platform will be coming from India.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven South and Southeast Asian nations comprised with Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand

The foreign secretary said Bangladesh’s priority area in BIMSTEC is on economic front while India’s focus on security agendas and both the countries would like to synchronies the issues between each other through discussion.

“There is room between Bangladesh and India in working together on different issues under BIMSTEC,” he said.
Momen said during its chairmanship Dhaka, which is host the BIMSTEC secretariat, will give additional importance upon this regional forum while Dhaka’s priority is to realize BIMSTEC multilateral free trade agreement.

On the other hand, he said New Delhi would like to sign some convention among the BIMSTEC countries on various security issues, like extradition and money laundering.

The foreign secretary said they also discussed on connectivity among the BIMSTC states. “We discussed not only connectivity on road but also connectivity through trans border power gridline,” he added.

During the ministerial retreat in Bangkok, he said, the foreign ministers would also discuss how development agencies could be involved in the BIMSTEC activities in future.