Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation

  (Redirected from BIMSTEC)

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven nations of South Asia and Southeast Asia, housing 1.5 billion people and having a combined gross domestic product of $3.5 trillion (2018).[4][5] The BIMSTEC member states – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand[6] – are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.

Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation

Bengali:বঙ্গোপসাগরীয় বহুক্ষেত্রীয় প্রযুক্তিগত ও আর্থনীতিক সহযোগীতা উদ্যোগ (বিম্‌সটেক্)
Burmese:ဘင်္ဂလားပင်လယ်အော် စီးပွားရေးနှင့် နည်းပညာဆိုင်ရာ ဘက်စုံ ပူးပေါင်း ဆောင်ရွက်ရေး အဖွဲ့အစည်း (ဘင်းမ်စတက်)
Hindi:बहुक्षेत्रीय तकनीकी और आर्थिक सहयोग के लिए बंगाल की खाड़ी पहल (बिम्सटेक)
Nepali:बहुक्षेत्रीय प्राविधिक तथा आर्थिक सहयोगका लागि बङ्गालको खाडीको प्रयास (बिम्स्टेक)
Sinhala:බහු සංස්කෘතික සහ තාක්ෂණික සහයෝගීතාව සඳರುದ್ලರ ಸಂಗಮದಲ್ಲಿ‌ ಎಂದು‌ ಖ್ಯಾತಿ ප්‍රවේශය (බිම්ස්ටෙක්)
Tamil:பல துறை தொழில்நுட்ப மற்றும் பொருளாதார ஒத்துழைப்புக்கான வங்காள விரிகுடா முயற்சி
Thai:ความริเริ่มแห่งอ่าวเบงกอลสำหรับความร่วมมือหลากหลายสาขาทางวิชาการและเศรษฐกิจ (บิมสเทค)
Flag of Bengali: বঙ্গোপসাগরীয় বহুক্ষেত্রীয় প্রযুক্তিগত ও আর্থনীতিক সহযোগীতা উদ্যোগ (বিম্‌সটেক্) Burmese: ဘင်္ဂလားပင်လယ်အော် စီးပွားရေးနှင့် နည်းပညာဆိုင်ရာ ဘက်စုံ ပူးပေါင်း ဆောင်ရွက်ရေး အဖွဲ့အစည်း (ဘင်းမ်စတက်) Hindi: बहुक्षेत्रीय तकनीकी और आर्थिक सहयोग के लिए बंगाल की खाड़ी पहल (बिम्सटेक) Nepali: बहुक्षेत्रीय प्राविधिक तथा आर्थिक सहयोगका लागि बङ्गालको खाडीको प्रयास (बिम्स्टेक) Sinhala: බහු සංස්කෘතික සහ තාක්ෂණික සහයෝගීතාව සඳರುದ್ලರ ಸಂಗಮದಲ್ಲಿ‌ ಎಂದು‌ ಖ್ಯಾತಿ ප්‍රවේශය (බිම්ස්ටෙක්) Tamil: பல துறை தொழில்நுட்ப மற்றும் பொருளாதார ஒத்துழைப்புக்கான வங்காள விரிகுடா முயற்சி Thai: ความริเริ่มแห่งอ่าวเบงกอลสำหรับความร่วมมือหลากหลายสาขาทางวิชาการและเศรษฐกิจ (บิมสเทค)
BIMSTEC (orthographic projection).svg
SecretariatDhaka, Bangladesh[1]
Official languageEnglish
• Chairmanship
 Sri Lanka (since September 2018)[2]
• Secretary General
Mohammad Shahidul Islam (Bangladesh)[3]
Establishment6 June 1997; 22 years ago (1997-06-06)

Fourteen priority sectors of cooperation have been identified and several BIMSTEC centres have been established to focus on those sectors.[4][7] A BIMSTEC free trade agreement is under negotiation (c. 2018), also referred to as the mini SAARC.

Leadership is rotated in alphabetical order of country names. The permanent secretariat is in Dhaka, Bangladesh.


On 6 June 1997, a new sub-regional grouping was formed in Bangkok under the name BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation).[8][9] Following the inclusion of Myanmar on 22 December 1997 during a special Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok, the Group was renamed ‘BIMST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation). In 1998, Nepal became an observer. In February 2004, Nepal and Bhutan become full members.

On 31 July 2004, in the first Summit the grouping was renamed as BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.[10]


There are 14 main sectors of BIMSTEC along technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and southeast Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal.

  1. Trade & Investment
  2. Transport & Communication
  3. Energy
  4. Tourism
  5. Technology
  6. Fisheries
  7. Agriculture
  8. Public Health
  9. Poverty Alleviation
  10. Counter-Terrorism & Transnational Crime
  11. Environment & Disaster Management
  12. People-to-People Contact
  13. Cultural Cooperation
  14. Climate Change

Sectors 7 to 13 were added at the 8th Ministerial Meeting in Dhaka in 2005 while the 14th sector was added in 11th Ministerial Meeting in New Delhi in 2008.

Member nations are denoted as Lead Countries for each sector.

  • Provides cooperation to one another for the provision of training and research facilities in educational vocational and technical fields,
  • Promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in economic, social ,technical and scientific fields of common interest,
  • Provides help to increase the socio-economic growth of the member countries.

Permanent SecretariatEdit

The BIMSTEC Permanent Secretariat at Dhaka was opened in 2014 and India contributes 33% of its expenditure.[4][11] The current Secretary General of the BIMSTEC is Ambassador Mohammad Shahidul Islam from Bangladesh and the former Secretary General was Sumith Nakandala from Sri Lanka.


The BIMSTEC uses the alphabetical order for the Chairmanship. The Chairmanship of the BIMSTEC has been taken in rotation commencing with Bangladesh (1997–1999).[12]

Member nationsEdit

Countries Leader Position Head of government Head of state Population GDP (Nominal) World Bank SAARC
  Bangladesh Prime minister Sheikh Hasina, Prime Minister of Bangladesh Abdul Hamid, President of Bangladesh 161,376,708 US$314 billion  Y  Y
  Bhutan Prime minister Lotay Tshering, Prime Minister of Bhutan Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, King of Bhutan 754,388 US$2.5 billion  Y  Y
  India Prime minister Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India Ram Nath Kovind, President of India 1,352,642,280 US$2700 billion  Y  Y
  Myanmar President Win Myint, President of Myanmar 53,708,320 US$68.277 billion  Y  N
    Nepal Prime minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal Bidhya Devi Bhandari, President of Nepal 28,095,714 US$25.020 billion  Y  Y
  Sri Lanka President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Prime Minister of Sri Lanka Gotabaya Rajapaksa, President of Sri Lanka 21,228,763 US$80.4 billion  Y  Y
  Thailand Prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X),

King of Thailand

69,428,453 US$457.24 billionn  Y  N

Heads of the member nationsEdit

BIMSTEC priority sectorsEdit

14 priority areas have been identified with the lead nations appointed to lead the effort:[4][7][13]

Priority Area Lead Country Centre Comments
Transport and communication India
Tourism India BIMSTEC Tourism Information Centre, Delhi
Counterterrorism and transnational crime India Four subgroups: Intelligence sharing – Sri Lanka (lead),
Terror financing – Thailand,
Legal – Myanmar,
Law enforcement and narcotics – Myanmar
Environment and disaster management India BIMSTEC Weather and Climate Centre, Noida
Energy Myanmar BIMSTEC Energy Centre, Bengaluru BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection MoU signed in 2014.[14][15]
Public Health Thailand BIMSTEC Network of Traditional Medicine in India
Agriculture Myanmar
Trade & Investment Bangladesh
Technology Sri Lanka
Fisheries Thailand
People-to-People Contact Thailand
Poverty Alleviation Nepal
Climate Change Bangladesh
Cultural Cooperation Bhutan 1200 ITEC scholarships by India

BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework AgreementEdit

The BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement (BFTAFA) has been signed by all member nations to stimulate trade and investment in the parties, and attract outsiders to trade with and invest in the BIMSTEC countries at a higher level. Subsequently, the "Trade Negotiating Committee" (TNC) was set up, with Thailand as the permanent chair, to negotiate in areas of trade in goods and services, investment, economic co-operation, trade facilitations and technical assistance for LDCs. Once negotiation on trade in goods is completed, the TNC would then proceed with negotiation on trade in services and investment.[16]

The BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement draft was discussed on 1 December 2017 in New Delhi, to facilitate coastal shipping within 20 nautical miles of the coastline in the region to boost trade between the member countries. Compared to the deep sea shipping, coastal ship require smaller vessels with lesser draft and involve lower costs. Once the agreement becomes operational after it is ratified, a lot of cargo movement between the member countries can be done through the cost effective, environment friendly and faster coastal shipping routes.[17]

On 7th and 8th of November, 2019, the first ever BIMSTEC Conclave of Ports summit was held in Visakhapatnam, India.[18] The main aims of this summit is providing a platform to strengthen maritime interaction, port-led connectivity initiatives and sharing best practices among member countries.

Cooperation with Asian Development Bank (ADB)Edit

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) becomes a partner in 2005, to undertake the "BIMSTEC Transport Infrastructure and Logistic Study" (BTILS), which was completed in 2014.[19]

BIMSTEC SummitsEdit

Second Summit at New Delhi, India
Third Summit at Naypyidaw, Myanmar
No. Date Host country Host city
1st 31 July 2004   Thailand Bangkok
2nd 13 November 2008   India New Delhi
3rd 4 March 2014   Myanmar Naypyidaw[20]
4th 30–31 August 2018     Nepal Kathmandu[21]
5th 2022   Sri Lanka Colombo[2][22]


See alsoEdit


  1. ^ "Nepal unlikely to host fourth 'Bimstec' summit this year". Business Standard India. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  2. ^ a b "BIMSTEC summit ends with Oli presenting Kathmandu declaration". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  3. ^ "Bangladesh Ambassador Shahidul Islam appointed secretary general of BIMSTEC". 11 August 2017. Retrieved 29 April 2020.
  4. ^ a b c d BIMSTEC: Building bridges between South Asia & Southeast Asia, IndiaWrites, 2014.
  5. ^ BIMSTEC
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b "Energy". Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  8. ^ Haidar, Suhasini (15 October 2016). "BIMSTEC a sunny prospect in BRICS summit at Goa". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  9. ^ "BRICS Summit 2016: BIMSTEC members have economic opportunities to share, said Narendra Modi". The Economic Times. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  10. ^ See for a detailed historical account of the founding and evolution of BIST-EC and BIMST-EC e.g. Michael, Arndt (2013). India's Foreign Policy and Regional Multilateralism (Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 145–163.
  11. ^ "Area of cooperation". Archived from the original on 22 December 2017. Retrieved 21 December 2017.
  12. ^ "Third BIMSTEC Summit Declaration". Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  13. ^ BIMSTC sectors
  14. ^ "India Cabinet Approves Signing of BIMSTEC Power Grid Pact | News | South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation". Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  15. ^ "Nepal to join BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection". Retrieved 6 December 2017.
  16. ^ "Bimstec committee mulls free trade deal in Dhaka". 13 November 2018.
  17. ^ "BIMSTEC Member States discuss draft text of Coastal Shipping Agreement".
  18. ^ "First BIMSTEC Conclave of Ports, Vishakhapatnam (November 7-8, 2019)".
  19. ^ BIMSTEC Transport Infrastructure and Logistic Study
  20. ^ "BIMSTEC Summit". Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  21. ^ "Nepal proposes dates for Bimstec Summit". Business Standard India. 5 June 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  22. ^ "4th BIMSTEC Summit: Kathmandu Declaration adopted by Member States". Retrieved 31 August 2018.

External linksEdit