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March 3, 2014
New Delhi

PM’s statement on his departure to Nay Pyi Taw for the BIMSTEC summit

"I am proceeding today on a two-day tour of Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, to take part in the third Summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).

BIMSTEC lies at the crossroads between SAARC and ASEAN, drawing its energy from the natural convergence of the countries around the Bay of Bengal. Connectivity and sub-regional cooperation in trade and investment, energy, climate, tourism, agriculture and other areas provide the spark for the growth engine in our region. Security challenges, both natural and man-made, require our collective vision and determination to be overcome. Peace, stability and development in BIMSTEC countries, with over 20% of the world’s population and over US$ 2.5 trillion worth of GDP, is indispensible for the forward march of Asia as a whole.

BIMSTEC has evolved and matured further as a group since the last Summit in New Delhi in 2008. With the impending establishment of a Permanent Secretariat in Dhaka and appointment of a Secretary General, it is poised to play a more active role in regional integration and cooperation. Several BIMSTEC Centres are being launched throughout the region, including three in India, to foster greater technical exchanges between Member Countries. In the security sphere, we have steadily put in place enabling legal instruments for regional approaches to international terrorism, transnational crime, drug trafficking and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, the need for which is more salient in today’s integrated world than ever before. We set great store by BIMSTEC cooperation in the years ahead, for which this Summit should play a critical role.

Our bilateral relations with BIMSTEC countries are among our most important in the world. On the sidelines of the Summit, I hope to exchange notes with leaders from other Member States, all close and friendly neighbours of India, on our bilateral relations.

I look forward to a productive visit."