Top Stories : Minister of Foreign Affairs Attended the 16th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting and the 4th BIMSTEC Summit news3

Top Stories : Minister of Foreign Affairs Attended the 16th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting and the 4th BIMSTEC Summit

          H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand, attended the 16th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Ministerial Meeting on 29 August 2018 to prepare for the 4th BIMSTEC Summit in Kathmandu, Nepal, under the theme “Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous and Sustainable Bay of Bengal Region.” The Meeting was also attended by Foreign Ministers of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Myanmar, and Sri Lanka.

          The 16th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting discussed the progress made since the 15th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting held in August 2017 and endorsed the draft 4th BIMSTEC Summit Declaration which set future directions for BIMSTEC by focusing on (1) the implementation of result-oriented activities such as the establishment of land and sea connectivity and the establishment of BIMSTEC FTA (2) rebranding BIMSTEC as a modern organisation that yields tangible outcomes through the re-prioritising of 14 areas of cooperation and (3) strengthening of the BIMSTEC Secretariat through the drafting of BIMSTEC Charter, and exploring the possibility of BIMSTEC Development Fund.

          In this regard, the Minister of Foreign Affairs proposed the establishment of a timeframe for concluding the negotiation of pending Agreements at the earliest opportunity and thanked the Meeting for welcoming Thailand’s concept paper on the Reprioritisation of BIMSTEC Pillars of Cooperation. The concept paper will be further discussed by the BIMSTEC Permanent Working Committee.

          During 30 – 31 August 2018, the Minister of Foreign Affairs joined the delegation of H.E. General Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of the Kingdom of Thailand, together with H.E. Mr. Siri Jirapongphan, Minister of Energy, to attend the 4th BIMSTEC Summit. The Leaders adopted the 4th BIMSTEC Summit Declaration and agreed to work toward regional growth through poverty eradication, multidimensional connectivity, trade and investment, human capacity development, and counter-terrorism. The Leaders also witnessed the signing of Memorandum of Understanding for the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection that will contribute to energy security in South Asia and Mekong sub-region.

          On this occasion, the Prime Minister shared his vision with the Meeting on the streamlining of BIMSTEC’s structure of cooperation into 5 prioritised areas, namely (1) Connectivity (2) Trade and Investment (3) People-to-People Contact   (4) Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime/Security and (5) Science and Technology.  The Prime Minister also reiterated Thailand’s readiness to help drive BIMSTEC and connect South Asia with Southeast Asia, as well as underlined Thailand’s development policies such as Thailand 4.0 and Sufficiency Economy Philosophy (SEP) that will link Thailand with the global supply and value chain of BIMSTEC and  beyond.

          During the Summit, the Prime Minister had bilateral meetings with H.E. Narendra Modi, Prime Minister of India, to discuss maritime security and economic cooperation, and H.E. Khadga Prasad Oli, Prime Minister of Nepal, to discuss Buddhist tourism and Thailand’s assistance to the Nepal earthquake recovery efforts.