BIMSTEC Secretariat inaugurated in Dhaka

The Secretariat of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) in Dhaka has been formally inaugurated by H.E. Sheikh Hasina, the Hon’ble Prime Minster of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh on 13 September 2014.

The BIMSTEC Secretariat is the first-ever headquarters of any inter-governmental organization to be established in Bangladesh. The Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Dhaka has brought out a Special Supplement and a commemorative stamp on this happy occasion.

The regional organization groups together seven countries; Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand for multifarious cooperation for socio- economic development of the region. The first Secretary General of the organization is Mr. Sumith Nakandala from Sri Lanka.

The concept of BIMSTEC originated from the initial idea of BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lank and Thailand Economic Cooperation) with the subsequent inclusion of Myanmar, Nepal and Bhutan. BIMST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation) was established in 1997 and its transformation into BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) took place in 2004. The purpose of BIMSTEC is to forge closer cooperation mainly among the littoral countries of the Bay of Bengal.

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Some key facts about the BIMSTEC are as under:

06 June 1997 Adoption of Bangkok Declaration and formal launching of the BIST-EC
22 December 1997 Inclusion of Myanmar and renaming of the grouping as BIMST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand Economic Cooperation)
February 2004 Inclusion of Bhutan and Nepal as members at sixth Ministerial Meeting
08 February 2004 Signing of Framework Agreement on BIMSTEC Free Trade Area (BFTA)
31 July 2004 First BIMSTEC Summit held in Bangkok, Thailand
13 December 2008 Second BIMSTEC Summit held New Delhi, India
04 March 2014 Third BIMSTEC Summit held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar.Signing of Memorandum of Association (MOA) on the Establishment of BIMSTEC Secretariat in Dhaka, BIMSTEC-Centre for Weather and Climate in India, and Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of BIMSTEC Cultural Industries Commission and BIMSTEC-Cultural Industries Observatory in Bhutan.
13 September 2014 Inauguration of Permanent Secretariat in Dhaka by the Hon’ble Prime Minister of Bangladesh