Nepal Current Affairs

15th BIMSTEC Ministerial meeting begins in Kathmandu

The 15th edition of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) ministerial meeting was held in Kathmandu, Nepal.

The two-day meet was inaugurated by Prime Minister of Nepal Sher Bahadur Deuba and will be chaired by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Krishna Bahadur Mahara. India was represented by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj.

Key Facts

The meeting will review the progress and achievements in the identified areas of cooperation and discuss the ways to accelerate the partnership under the BIMSTEC process. The key areas expected to be focused in the meeting are trade, investment, energy, transport, tourism, poverty alleviation and counter-terrorism.

The main agenda of this edition of the meeting is to finalise a free trade agreement among the BIMSTEC member countries. It will also include negotiations on market access for professionals and reducing the duty on trading goods.

About BIMSTEC

The BIMSTEC is a sub-regional grouping comprising of seven countries of South Asia and South East Asia. It was established on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration. It is headquartered at Dhaka, Bangladesh.

BIMSTEC mainly comprises of seven countries viz. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka,  Myanmar and Thailand lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal.

Its objectives are technological and economical cooperation among south Asian and south East Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. It also covers cooperation in commerce, technology, investment, agriculture, tourism, human resource development, fisheries, transport and communication, textiles, leather etc.

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Sher Bahadur Deuba elected as 40th Prime Minister of Nepal

Sher Bahadur Deuba,70, has been elected as Nepal’s Prime Minister for the fourth time. He was the only candidate who contested in the election as the main opposition party UML decided to end the obstruction of parliament and did not register its candidates for the election. Deuba managed to secure 388 votes in the 593 strong Parliament in order to prove his majority.

Deuba has served as Nepal’s prime minister for three terms from 1995 to 1997, from 2001 to 2002, and from 2004 to 2005. In 2005, during his third term he was sacked by the then King Gyanendra Shah in 2005 over his failure to hold elections and bring Maoist rebels to negotiations.

The responsibility of conducting the local elections in the remaining four provinces will rest upon him.

Background

Sher Bahadur Deuba has become the 40th Prime Minister of Nepal. Last month, Maoist leader Prachanda Kamal Dahal resigned under a power sharing deal with the Nepali Congress leader.

The CPN-UML decided to end the obstruction of parliament after the ruling parties agreed to hold local elections in the remaining provinces on June 28 as well as the provincial and parliamentary elections by January, 2018.

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