'India committed to cooperation under BIMSTEC framework'

India committed to cooperation under BIMSTEC framework

New Delhi: A ministerial meeting of the BIMSTEC on Thursday endorsed a master plan for regional connectivity even as India said it was high time for the grouping to make a "paradigm-shift" in raising the level cooperation and regional integration.

In his address at the virtual meeting, External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar said India remained committed to further building the momentum of regional cooperation under the framework of BIMSTEC and make it a stronger, vibrant and result-oriented grouping.

Besides India, BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) comprises Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Nepal and Bhutan. "BIMSTEC has evolved through a long journey. Next year will be the silver jubilee of the establishment of the BIMSTEC."

"It is high time that we dwell upon how to make a paradigm-shift in raising the level of our cooperation and regional integration," Jaishankar said.

India has been making concerted efforts to make BIMSTEC a vibrant forum for regional cooperation as initiatives under SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) were not moving forward for a variety of reasons.

A statement issued by the Ministry of External Affairs said the meeting welcomed a proposal to hold the fifth BIMSTEC summit in Sri Lanka in next few months in consultation with the member states.

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