Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation

Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation
Bengali: বঙ্গোপসাগরীয় বহুক্ষেত্রীয় প্রযুক্তিগত ও অর্থনৈতিক সহযোগীতা উদ্যোগ (বিম্‌সটেক্)
Burmese: ဘင်္ဂလားပင်လယ်အော် စီးပွားရေးနှင့် နည်းပညာဆိုင်ရာ ဘက်စုံ ပူးပေါင်း ဆောင်ရွက်ရေး အဖွဲ့အစည်း (ဘင်းမ်စတက်)
बहुक्षेत्रीय तकनीकी और आर्थिक सहयोग के लिए बंगाल की खाड़ी पहल (बिम्सटेक)
Nepali: बहुक्षेत्रीय प्रावथा आर्थिक सहयोगका लागि बङ्गालको खाडीको प्रयास (बिम्स्टेक)
Thai: ความริเริ่มแห่งอ่าวเบงกอลสำหรับความร่วมมือหลากหลายสาขาทางวิชาการและเศรษฐกิจ (บิมสเทค)
Secretariat Dhaka, Bangladesh[1]
 Sri Lanka (since September 2018)[2]
Establishment 6 June 1997 (1997-06-06)

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, housing 1.5 billion people and having a combined gross domestic product of $3.5 trillion (2018).[3][4] The BIMSTEC member states—Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan, and Nepal[5]—are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.

Fourteen priority sectors of cooperation have been identified and several BIMSTEC centres have been established to focus on those sectors.[3][6] A BIMSTEC free trade agreement is under negotiation (c. 2018).

Leadership is rotated in alphabetical order of country names. The permanent secretariat is in Dhaka.


On June 6, 1997, a new sub-regional grouping was formed in Bangkok under the name BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation).[7][8] On 22 December 1997, Myanmar became a full member, resulting in the renaming of the grouping to BIMST-EC. In 1998, Nepal became an observer. In February 2004, Nepal and Bhutan became full members.

On July 31, 2004, in the first Summit the grouping was renamed as BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation.[9]


The 14 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.[4] Provide cooperation to one another for the provision of training and research facilities in educational vocational and technical fields. Promote active collaboration and mutual assistance in economic,social ,technical and scientific fields of common interest.

Permanent Secretariat

BIMSTEC Permanent Secretariat is at Dhaka was opened in 2014 and India provides 33% (65% of region's population) of its expenditure.[3][10]


BIMSTEC uses the alphabetical order for the Chairmanship. The Chairmanship of BIMSTEC has been taken in rotation commencing with Bangladesh (1997–1999).[11]

Member nations

Countries Leader Position Head of government Head of state Population




World Bank SAARC
 Bangladesh Prime minister Sheikh Hasina,

Prime Minister of Bangladesh

Abdul Hamid, President of Bangladesh 162,951,560 $285.8 bn
 Bhutan Prime minister Dasho Tshering Wangchuk,

Prime Minister of Bhutan

Jigme Khesar Namgyel Wangchuck, King of Bhutan 797,765 $2.2 bn
 India Prime minister Narendra Modi,

Prime Minister of India

Ram Nath Kovind, President of India 1,324,171,354 $2308.0 bn
 Myanmar President Win Myint,

President of Myanmar

52,885,223 $68.277 bn
   Nepal Prime minister KP Oli,

Prime Minister of Nepal

Bidhya Devi Bhandari, President of Nepal 28,982,771 $27.4 bn
 Sri Lanka President Ranil Wickremesinghe,

Prime Minister of Sri Lanka

Maithripala Sirisena, President of Sri Lanka 20,798,492 $80.4 bn
 Thailand Prime minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Prime Minister of Thailand King Vajiralongkorn (Rama X),

King of Thailand

68,863,514 $409.724 bn

BIMSTEC priority sectors

14 priority areas have been identified with the lead nations appointed to lead the effort:[3][6][13]

Priority Area Lead Country Centre Comments
Transport and communicationIndia
TourismIndiaBIMSTEC Information Centre, Delhi
Counterterrorism and transnational crimeIndiaFour subgroups: Intelligence sharing - Sri Lanka (lead),
Terror financing - Thailand,
Legal - Myanmar,
Law enforcement and narcotics - Myanmar
Environment and disaster managementIndiaTsunami Warning Centre, Noida
EnergyMyanmarBIMSTEC Energy Centre, BengaluruBIMSTEC Grid Interconnection MoU signed in 2014.[14][15]
Public HealthThailandBIMSTEC Network of Traditional Medicine in India
Trade & InvestmentBangladesh
TechnologySri Lanka
Poverty AlleviationNepal
People-to-People ContactThailand
Climate ChangeBangladesh
Cultural CooperationBhutan1200 ITEC scholarships by India

BIMSTEC Free Trade Area Framework Agreement

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. Subsequently, the "Trade Negotiating Committee" (TNC) was set up, with Thailand as the permanent chair, to negotiate in areas of trade in goods and services, investment, economic co-operation, trade facilitations and technical assistance for LDCs. Once negotiation on trade in goods is completed, the TNC would then proceed with negotiation on trade in services and investment.

BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement draft was discussed on 1 December 2017 at New Delhi, to facilitate coastal shipping within 20 nautical miles of the coastline in the region to boost trade between the member countries. Compared to the deep sea shipping, coastal ship require smaller vessels with lesser draft and involve lower costs. Once the agreement becomes operational after it is ratified, a lot of cargo movement between the member countries can be done through the cost effective, environment friendly and faster coastal shipping routes.

Cooperation with Asian Development Bank (ADB)

ADB become a partner in 2005, to undertake the "BIMSTEC Transport Infrastructure and Logistic Study" (BTILS), which was completed in 2014.[16]


No. Date Host country Host city
1st 31 July 2004  Thailand Bangkok
2nd 13 November 2008  India New Delhi
3rd 4 March 2014  Myanmar Nay Pyi Daw[17]
4th 30, 31 Aug 2018    Nepal Kathmandu[18]
5th TBD  Sri Lanka Colombo[2][19]


See also


  1. "Nepal unlikely to host fourth 'Bimstec' summit this year". Business Standard India. 3 June 2016. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  2. 1 2 "BIMSTEC summit ends with Oli presenting Kathmandu declaration". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
  3. 1 2 3 4 BIMSTEC: Building bridges between South Asia & Southeast Asia, IndiaWrites, 2014.
  4. 1 2 BIMSTEC
  6. 1 2 "Energy". Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  7. Haidar, Suhasini (15 October 2016). "BIMSTEC a sunny prospect in BRICS summit at Goa". The Hindu. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  8. "BRICS Summit 2016: BIMSTEC members have economic opportunities to share, said Narendra Modi – The Economic Times". The Economic Times. Retrieved 16 October 2016.
  9. See for a detailed historical account of the founding and evolution of BIST-EC and BIMST-EC e.g. Michael, Arndt (2013). India's Foreign Policy and Regional Multilateralism (Palgrave Macmillan), pp. 145–163.
  10. Area of cooperation
  11. "Third BIMSTEC Summit Declaration". Retrieved 12 March 2014.
  12. "World Population Prospects: The 2017 Revision". (custom data acquired via website). United Nations Department of Economic and Social Affairs, Population Division. Retrieved 10 September 2017.
  13. BIMSTC sectors
  14. "India Cabinet Approves Signing of BIMSTEC Power Grid Pact | News | South Asia Subregional Economic Cooperation". Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  15. "Nepal to join BIMSTEC Grid Interconnection". Retrieved 2017-12-06.
  16. BIMSTEC Transport Infrastructure and Logistic Study
  17. "BIMSTEC Summit". Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation. Retrieved 17 December 2016.
  18. "Nepal proposes dates for Bimstec Summit". Business Standard India. 5 June 2018. Retrieved 1 July 2018.
  19. "4th BIMSTEC Summit: Kathmandu Declaration adopted by Member States". Retrieved 31 August 2018.
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