Enhanced Border Connectivity and Economic Interlinkages with BIMSTEC would Enable the Rise of India's North-eastern Region
It is important to create a BIMSTEC Economic Forum to facilitate highlevel of exchange of views between policy makers and business community.
Ambassador Shahidul Islam Secretary General, BIMSTEC
South Asia and Southeast Asia encompass some of the most vibrant and fastest growing countries of the world today. BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) as a grouping acts as the bridge linking these regions and provides an institutional mechanism to enable regional economic synergy. BIMSTEC region encompasses 1.6 billion people housing almost 22 per cent of the world population, and a combined GDP of US$ 2.7 trillion.
Despite its several accomplishments, BIMSTEC is also one of the least integrated regions of the world as member countries constitute only 4 per cent of world trade as compared to ASEAN (29 per cent) and SAARC (7 per cent). Renewed foreign policy and strategic focus signalled by the 2016 BRICSBIMSTEC (BRICS: Brazil, Russia, India, China and South Africa) Outreach Summit in Goa and several that followed provide timely encouragement for the private sector to articulate a proactive engagement strategy. For India specifically, enhanced border connectivity and economic interlinkages with BIMSTEC could also enable integration and economic development of India's north-eastern region.
Accordingly, in alignment with the Indian foreign policy focus on BIMSTEC as a common security and development space, FICCI convened a core group on BIMSTEC in 2017 – a year that commemorated the 20th anniversary of BIMSTEC. The
Piyush Srivastava, Joint Secretary (BIMSTEC & SAARC), Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India; Ambassador Shahidul Islam, Secretary General, BIMSTEC; Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia, Chair, FICCI Core Group of Experts on BIMSTEC and Vikramjit Singh Sahney, Padma Shri, CoChair – FICCI Core Group of Experts on BIMSTEC.