BIMSTEC Current Affairs - 2020

Training Programme announced by MEA for SAARC Health Professionals

The Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme (ITEC) on April 14, 2020 announced a training programme for the health care professionals from SAARC countries.

About the Programme

The programme is to be conducted by the Ministry of External Affairs. On March 15, 2020, PM Modi during the video conference with the SAARC leaders suggested for the health professionals to come together to fight against COVID-19 jointly. He also proposed creation of SAARC COVID-19 Emergency funds.

COVID-19 Emergency Funds

India contributed 10 million USD towards the funds. Pakistan contributed 3 million USD. Bangladesh, Nepal and Afghanistan have announced to contribute 1.5 million USD each. Sri Lanka has announced to contribute 5 million USD. Maldives and Bhutan are to contribute 200,000 USD and 100,000 USD respectively. The accumulated sum of money in the funds account to 21.8 million USD.

ITEC

The ITEC is Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation programme. The programme was established in 1964. The ITEC is bilateral in nature. However, lately the programme is being used to help multilateral groupings such as ASEAN, BIMSTEC, WTO, IOR-ARC (Indian Ocean Rim-Association for Regional Cooperation), CARCICOM (Caribbean Community).

The programme is completely funded by India. It offers training and also allows foreign students to continue their higher studies.

BIMSTEC: Conference on Combating Drug Trafficking inaugurated

On February 13, 2020, Union Minister Amit Shah launched the BIMSTEC Conference on Combating Drug Trafficking in New Delhi. The event was organized by the Narcotics Control Bureau. The Conference was attended by other BIMSTEC partners Bangladesh, Myanmar, Bhutan, Nepal, Thailand and Sri Lanka.

Highlights

The main objective of the conference is to control the illicit drug trading plaguing Bay of Bengal states. India has taken lead in organizing the conference.

Significance

The Conference is important because India is currently focusing on Act East Policy and Neighbourhood Policy. The BIMSTEC platform acts as a platform for India to achieve its objectives.

Also, there is need for such conferences and multilateral initiatives as drug trafficking globally has reached 400 billion USD. In the last 10 years, drug addiction has increased by 30%.

India’s Measures

In order to control drug trafficking in the country, India has adopted Zero Tolerance Policy. India has also taken steps at international level. For instance, India is a member of INTERPOL (International Criminal Police Organization).