The seven member grouping BIMSTEC Summit will be hosted by Sri Lanka on March 30, WION reported on Wednesday.
The report added that the country is keen to host an in-person Summit, however the ongoing Omicron wave could shift it to virtual mode. The final announcement in this regard is yet to be made by the Sri Lankan Foreign Ministry.
“The summit will see approval of the BIMSTEC Charter, BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity & BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. The group will also work towards finalisation of the BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement and the Motor Vehicles Agreement,” the report said.
BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) is a 7-member grouping that includes India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. The grouping is more than 20-years-old and was formed in 1997. The last summit took place in Kathmandu in 2018 with PM Modi and other member-leaders in attendance. Sri Lanka is the current chair of BIMSTEC. The group has assumed greater importance for New Delhi since SAARC remains hostage to Pakistan. In 2019, India had invited all BIMSTEC heads of government & states for PM Modi’s oath-taking ceremony for his second term in office.
Sri Lanka was keen to hold the summit last year but the summit could not take place due to the Covid crisis. In April last year, BIMSTEC foreign ministers met virtually. External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar also attended the meet.
(With media reports)