Bangladesh, China, India and Myanmar (BCIM) should consider the “different levels of development” while engaging in mutually beneficial areas for cooperation under BCIM Economic Corridor, an official said on Tuesday. After the two rounds of meeting hosted by China at Kunming in 2013 and by Bangladesh at Cox’s Bazaar in 2014, the third edition of the two-day meeting of Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar Economic Corridor Joint Study Group (BCIM-EC-JSG) began here on Tuesday.
“I wish to also flag for your consideration that even as we explore greater connectivity between BCIM countries, we should be mindful of different domestic circumstances and developmental aspirations in our respective countries.
“While forging ahead on our respective development paths, our four countries at present are at different levels of developments, and this should be an important consideration while we engage in mutually beneficial areas for cooperation,” External Affairs Ministry Additional Secretary A. Gitesh Sarma said at the inaugural address of the meeting.
The JSG is currently working on a joint study report covering all aspects related to development of BCIM-EC.
According to the delegates, this report would be based on the synthesis of individual country reports prepared by the respective countries and once prepared, would offer comprehensive details on development of BCIM-EC. Sarma said increased connectivity would naturally lead to expanded trade.
“While we focus on expanding trade volumes, equal attention should also be paid to its sustainability. Greater access to each other’s markets is desirable to achieve more viable and sustainable trade cooperation in our region,” he said.
Wang Xiaotao, Vice Chairman of National Development of Reform Commission of China who is leading the Chinese delegation, called for an inter-governmental cooperation mechanism.
According to the Bangladesh delegation led by the country’s High Commissioner to Sri Lanka M. Riaz Hamidullah, the increased integration and connectivity in the region will play a vital role in strengthening cooperation among these countries to achieve development objective.
The Myanmar delegation is led by U Win Lwin, Chief Engineer of the Road Department inn the Ministry of Construction.
Former Indian High Commissioner to Bangladesh Rajeet Mitter, who headed Indian JSG (Joint Study Group), said the group made a good progress as the respective countries finalised their reports and circulated these reports. India considers BCIM as an important instrument for its Act East Policy, he added.