Trade and terrorism main agenda for Bimstec countries

Written by Political Bureau | New Delhi, Aug 27 | Updated: Aug 29 2008, 05:08am hrs
Foreign ministers of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) will discuss terrorism and intra-regional trade and economic cooperation.

Senior officials of seven members of the Bimstec who have been having discussions in New Delhi since Wednesday to work out their recommendations that will be discussed and firmed up at the foreign ministers meeting on Friday.

Increasing intra-regional trade and connectivity will be a major focus of discussions among Bimstec countries, that accounts for 21% of the worlds population.

The regional bloc is awaiting a study by Asian Development Bank (ADB) on transport infrastructure and logistics to promote greater connectivity in the region.

Energy security and issues relating to environment and climate will also be discussed. India is pushing for setting up a joint weather and climate centre and an energy centre - proposals that have found wide support in the regional bloc.

According to an official source, the senior officials from these countries are likely to deliberate at length on the issue of evolving a pact to combat terrorism for approval by the foreign ministers.

The pact, which will focus on closer coordination and intelligence sharing on terror outfits active in the region, is likely to be inked during the forthcoming Bimstec summit India will be hosting in November.