Connectivity Current Affairs - 2019
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The fourth edition of Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multi-Sectoral, Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) will be held in Kathmandu, capital city of from 30 to 31 August, 2018. Nepal is the current chair of BIMSTEC. The main focus of summit will be to increase connectivity between BIMSTEC nations including roads, airways and transmission lines. It will also give top priority connectivity and poverty alleviation.
Bay of Bengal Initiatives for Multi-Sectoral, Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC)
BIMSTEC is the sub-regional group of seven countries in South Asia and South East Asia lying in littoral and adjacent areas of Bay of Bengal constituting contiguous regional unity. It was established on 6 June 1997 through Bangkok Declaration. It is headquartered in Dhaka, Bangladesh.
Member countries: India, Nepal, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Sri Lanka from South Asia and Myanmar, Thailand from South East Asia. They are collectively home to around 1.5 billion people which constitute around 22% of global population.
BIMESTC’s prime objectives: Technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and south East Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. BIMSTEC is sector-driven cooperative organization, starting with six sector including trade, technology, energy, transport, tourism and fisheries. In 2008, it was expanded to embrace eight more sectors including agriculture, public health, poverty alleviation, counter-terrorism, environment, culture, people to people contact and climate change.
The 9th India-Japan-US trilateral meeting was held in New Delhi and was represented by senior diplomats by three countries. It held consultations on regional and global issues of mutual interest and focussed on connectivity, counter-terrorism and other regional and global issues of common concern.
The trilateral countries agreed to continue to collaborate to promote increased connectivity in Indo-Pacific. They also agreed to remain engaged and strengthen cooperation in support for free, open, prosperous, peaceful and inclusive Indo-Pacific region through partnership with countries in region.
They also explored practical steps to enhance cooperation in areas of connectivity and infrastructure development, counter-terrorism, counter-proliferation, maritime security, maritime domain awareness and Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HA-DR). The trilateral emphasised on importance of keeping the sea lanes open, over India’s concern about maintaining freedom of navigation in South China Sea and western Pacific Ocean.
The India-Japan-US trilateral was launched in December 2011 when Hillary Clinton was US Secretary of State. For first several rounds, the trilateral was held at director or assistant secretary level. It was elevated to ministerial level in 2015. The inaugural ministerial trilateral was held in September 2015 in New York on sidelines of United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) Session. It was hosted by then US Secretary of State John Kerry. It was also represented by External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and Japanese Foreign Minister Fumio Kishida. The last ministerial dialogue was also held in New York, US in September 2017.