India will host the first military exercise of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) group focussing on counter terrorism.
- In a first such initiative, militaries of BIMSTEC member nations barring Nepal today began a week-long anti-terror exercise at Aundh near Pune to enhance cooperation in dealing with the challenge of terrorism in the region.
- The exercise is focused on boosting inter-operability among the forces and exchanging best practices to contain terror related activities, training in search-and-cordon operations and handling and neutralisation of improvised explosive devices (IEDs) among other things.
- The exercise is taking place nearly two weeks after leaders of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) countries, in their summit talks in Kathmandu, resolved to join hands to combat the scourge of terrorism effectively.
- India had organised the BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreat in Goa in October 2016 during which the grouping had endorsed New Delhi’s effort to corner Pakistan on terror.
- special “tactical level” anti-terror operations will be practiced in semi urban setting.
- India has been pushing for making the BIMSTEC a vibrant form for regional collaboration as cooperation under the SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation) framework was not moving forward. As BIMSTEC excludes Pakistan.
- The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven nations of South Asia and South East Asia, The BIMSTEC member states are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
- Leadership is rotated in alphabetical order of country names. Sri Lanka is the current chair. The permanent secretariat is in Dhaka.
- The main objective of BIMSTEC is technological and economic cooperation among south Asian and southeast Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal. Commerce, Investment, Technology, Tourism, Human Resource Development, Agriculture, Fisheries, Transport and Communication, Textiles, Leather etc. have been included in it.
- BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement (BFTAFA) has been signed by all member nations to stimulate trade and investment in the parties, and attract outsiders to trade with and invest in BIMSTEC at a higher level.