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.
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 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.