Sri Lanka in BIMSTEC
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization comprising seven Member States lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity. This sub-regional organization came into being on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration. It constitutes seven Member States: five deriving from South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and two from Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Thailand. Initially, the economic bloc was formed with four Member States with the acronym ‘BIST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation). Following the inclusion of Myanmar on 22 December 1997 during a special Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok, the Group was renamed ‘BIMST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation). With the admission of Nepal and Bhutan at the 6th Ministerial Meeting (February 2004, Thailand), the name of the grouping was changed to ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (BIMSTEC). More
Sri Lanka is a founding member of the Regional Group with Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand, that formed BIST-EC. Today, the BIMSTEC region hosts 22% of world population and about 3 trillion USD in trade. Sri Lanka is the lead country for Science, technology and innovation with sub sectors technology, health and human resource development. Operationalization of the BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility (TTF) in Sri Lanka, will take place once the MoA become effective.
As the current Chair in Office of the BIMSTEC, Sri Lanka during its tenure has undertaken to strengthen the institutional structure and its foundation which includes finalizing the BIMSTEC Charter, and the rationalization of sectoral and sub-sectoral partnerships. The allocation of defined areas among the member States will add more focus to the future activities of BIMSTEC. Sri Lanka was also able to give leadership to finalize the MoUs for establishing the BIMSTEC Centers and mutual cooperation between diplomatic academies/training institutions of BIMSTEC member States. More
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