Kathmandu, July 17: Nepal will host the fourth Bimstec Summit on August 30 and 31 in Kathmandu, the foreign ministry announced on Monday.
After the stalling of the Saarc process, India has been actively pushing Bimstec, which includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand, for greater regional cooperation. India hosted the leaders of Bimstec during the Brics Outreach Summit in Goa in 2016.
“We have already started preparations to hold the summit and ensure its success,” foreign minister Pradeep Gyawali told reporters.
“This is an important regional gathering taking place in Kathmandu after the promulgation of Nepal’s new Constitution and formation of the new government. The government attaches high importance to the summit,” he said.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other heads of government or state of the six member states are expected to participate in the summit. Nepal is the current chair of Bimstec.
A meeting of senior officials will be held on August 28, followed by a ministerial meeting on August 30. The meeting of heads of state and government will be held on August 31.
The summit is the highest policy-making and decision-making body of Bimstec process. According to the decision of the sixth Bimstec ministerial meeting held in Thailand in 2004, the summit should be held every two years. Till date, only three summits were in 2004, 2008 and 2014.
Bimstec focuses on 14 areas of cooperation, including trade and investment, technology, energy, transport and communications, tourism, fisheries, agriculture, cultural cooperation, environment and natural disasters, public health, poverty alleviation, people-to-people contacts, counter-terrorism and climate change. (Agencies)