Counter-Terrorism Current Affairs

India to host first BIMSTEC military exercise

India will host first military exercise of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Countries in September 2018 in Pune, Maharashtra. The theme of the exercise includes counter-terrorism in semi-urban terrain and cordon and search.

Key Facts

The main aim of this military exercise is to promote strategic alignment among the member-states and to share best practices in the area of counter-terrorism. Each participating member country will bring in some 30 soldiers. As part of this exercise, a conclave of Army chiefs of all seven member-states is being planned. In it, the chiefs will debate challenge of terrorism and transnational crime, which is major concern among all states and on how they can promote collective cooperation. BIMSTEC countries had held disaster management exercise in 2017 in New Delhi, but this will be first military exercise of the grouping.

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.

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9th India, Japan, US trilateral meeting held in New Delhi

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.

Key Facts

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.

Background

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.

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