Prelims level : International Institutions Mains level : Important International institutions, agencies and fora- their structure, mandate
No Set Found with this ID

Why in News:

  • India has invited several heads of state, including those from the Bay of Bengal community (BIMSTEC) and the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation (SCO), for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony.


  • Government of India has invited the leaders of the BIMSTEC Member States for the swearing-in ceremony. This is the government’s focus on it’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy”. According to the information, Pakistan Prime Minister Imran Khan is not on the list of invitees and President of the Maldives is also not among the invitees.

Background: / BIMSTEC

  • Bay of Bengal Initiative on Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a sub-regional grouping involving seven countries in South Asia and South East Asia.
  • The BIMSTEC states are those which are on the shore or are adjacent to the Bay of Bengal and are dependent on it.
  • They are Thailand, Myanmar,Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal, India.
  • The international organization was formed on 6th of June 1997, through the Bangkok declaration and is headquartered at Dhaka in Bangladesh.
  • It mainly aims to create an enabling environment for rapid economic development, accelerate social progress, and promote collaboration on matters of common interest in the region. Bridge between South and South East Asia and represents a reinforcement of relations among these countries.
  • Platform for intra-regional cooperation between SAARC and ASEAN members.
  • Initially, it was formed with four Member States with the acronym ‘BIST-EC’ (Bangladesh, India, Sri-Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation).
  • It became renamed ‘BIMST-EC’ in 1997, following the inclusion of Myanmar.
  • With the admission of Nepal and Bhutan in 2004, the name of the grouping was changed to ‘Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation’ (BIMSTEC).


  • Creating an enabling environment for the rapid economic development of the sub-region. Encouraging the spirit of equality and partnership.
  • Promoting active collaboration and mutual assistance in the areas of common interests of the member countries
  • Accelerating support for each other in the fields of education, science, and technology.
  • The first meeting of National Security Chiefs of BIMSTEC:
  • The first meeting of National Security Chiefs of BIMSTEC member states was hosted by India in New Delhi on the 21st of March 2017.
  • The meeting was aimed at discussing the common security challenges faced by the member countries. The necessity of addressing traditional and non-traditional security challenges to harness human security in the region was underlined, as security cooperation among the member nations is very important in achieving the objectives of the organization.
  • The Importance of maritime security was emphasized. The member states put forth their views to further strengthen the maritime security cooperation including Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.
  • An agreement was reached to arrive at collective strategies recognizing Bay of Bengal as a common security space.
  • Urgent need for measures to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization through coordination in law enforcement, security organizations and capacity building were also discussed in the meeting.

Significance for India

Allows India to pursue three core policies:

  • Neighbourhood First – primacy to the country’s immediate periphery;
  • Act East – connect India with Southeast Asia; and
  • Economic development of India’s north-eastern states – by linking them to the Bay of Bengal region via Bangladesh and Myanmar.
  • Allows India to counter China’s creeping influence in countries around the Bay of Bengal due to the spread of its Belt and Road Initiative. A new platform for India to engage with its neighbours with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) becoming dysfunctional because of differences between India and Pakistan.
Share Socially