In his statement during the 14th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, Khurshid said, “We still live in a difficult neighbourhood with the incidence of terrorism and other transnational crimes. I am happy that our group has made significant advances in building the legal architecture to combat such a menace and developed functional cooperation between our agencies.”

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Khurshid said the Convention on Combating Terrorism, which was signed in the year 2009, is still awaiting approval from several member countries. He added the Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters has been finalized and ready for signature.

“We should encourage closer cooperation in this area as a peaceful environment is a pre-requisite for a harmonious society and for progress and prosperity,” he said.

The External Affairs Minister said BIMSTEC provides a unique link between South Asia and Southeast Asia bringing together 1.5 billion people, over 20 percent of the world population, and a combined GDP of over US$ 2.5 trillion.

“In today’s inter-linked and inter-dependent world, the commonalities between us provide opportunities to enhance our cooperation,” he added.

Asserting that BIMSTEC is privileged to have a full and active membership committed to BIMSTEC priorities, Khurshid said, “On the eve of the 3rd Summit, we note with satisfaction the significant progress achieved in many of the priority areas of cooperation. Yet, much more needs to be done. We seek to consolidate our partnership and focus on building infrastructure and concrete projects for cooperation.”

“I am delighted that we are establishing our Permanent Secretariat for BIMSTEC in Dhaka; this will greatly help in coordinating our efforts in an effective way,” he added.

Khurshid further said, “To make BIMSTEC a vibrant regional entity, I wish to share with you a few thoughts about our future direction. Our organization should carry out a broad review of our activities and focus on a limited number of priority areas. Areas identified should have the potential for producing concrete results and strengthen our common vision for the region and for BIMSTEC. We need to identify well-defined projects with tangible results relevant to the needs of our peoples. We need to step up implementation through clear conceptualization and adequate funding.”

“We should take advantage of the experiences of member countries to address the challenges of development and improve the livelihood of our peoples. Finally, as BIMSTEC is a consensus driven process, frequent and regular interaction between stakeholders will help in implementing our various initiatives,” he added.

Khurshid said India is proud to be a member of BIMSTEC with such worthy partners.

“We are committed to developing our organization and promoting a strategic perspective to our common efforts such that our region and our peoples can take advantage of the opportunities in this new century. I have no doubt that with our joint efforts we shall create a harmonious and prosperous future,” he added.


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