BIMSTEC a bridge of friendship between South and South-East Asia: Secretary General Lekphell

BIMSTEC Secretary General Tenzin Lekphell has said that in its 25 years of existence, BIMSTEC has proved to be a bridge of friendship connecting the people of South and SouthEast Asia. Speaking on the occasion of the 25th Founding Day of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, BIMSTEC in Dhaka on Monday, Secretary General Lekphell said that the institutional framework of BIMSTEC is being carefully crafted to facilitate regional cooperation. He said that legally binding frameworks and instruments for the BIMSTEC have mostly been decided, laying a strong foundation for regional integration and cooperation.

The 25th Founding Day of BIMSTEC was celebrated in Dhaka on Monday. Diplomats from BIMSTEC and other countries, Ministers, government officials, eminent citizens and the media participated in the event.

Secretary General Tenzin Lekphell said that establishment of the BIMSTEC Secretariat in Dhaka in 2014 and adoption of the BIMSTEC charter at the 5th summit in Colombo this year are two major milestones that BIMSTEC has achieved. In addition, the 5th summit also approved the rationalised sectors of cooperation ensuring a better focus and cooperative ethos. Highlighting the importance of connectivity for the region, Secretary General Lekhphell expressed happiness that Colombo Summit adopted the connectivity master plan. He expressed the hope that the member states will take advantage of it to build a truly connected Bay of Bengal region.

Addressing the gathering via Video Conferencing from abroad, Bangladesh Foreign Minister Dr. A K Abdul Momen reiterated the country’s commitment to strengthen the BIMSTEC as an instrument of regional cooperation. He said that with the adoption of three legal instruments and the connectivity master plan at Colombo, BIMSTEC is now ready to perform and deliver. He expressed the hope that one day the connectivity in the BIMSTEC region will see visa-free mobility  for its people as well as free movement of goods and services, technology and capital within the member states.

Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in her message on the occasion said that member states need to work faster to turn BIMSTEC into a result oriented organisation to achieve its goal.

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