Given the wide ranging nature of the potential interaction between member countries, the present framework is highly limiting. Bimstec governments meet only at the level of trade ministers and government officials. This is inadequate to explore the full potential of regional cooperation around the Bay of Bengal rim. Hence, Myanmars proposal, articulated this week in New Delhi by the visiting Myanmar foreign minister Win Aung, for a summit of Bimstec heads of government should be readily welcomed by all Bimstec Saarc governments. While Bimstec should not be viewed as a substitute for Saarc, faster paced economic integration within the Bimstec framework can only push Saarc out of its slumber caused by Pakistans intransigence on the economic cooperation front. Fortunately, Bimstec is not hobbled by Indias size and presence since a self-confident and dynamic Thailand offers a good balance and enables Bimstec members to be less obsessed with Indias size than is the case in Saarc. Regional associations make little sense if they lack an economic basis. The era of purely political and security-oriented regional alliances is over. Saarc is stumbling because of Pakistans unwillingness to impart an economic content to regional cooperation in South Asia. Bimstec can work because it has a forward-looking economic agenda. Myanmar is right to suggest that the time has come for a summit-level meeting of Bimstec leaders.