Sri Lanka has proposed to hold the BIMSTEC summit in early December this year. This will be the 5th such summit of the grouping. Sri Lanka is the chair of the grouping and had earlier proposed holding the summit in the month of August.
The last summit took place in Kathmandu in 2018, with Prime Minister Narendra Modi and other regional leaders attending the meet.
BIMSTEC or Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation has 7 members- India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, and Sri Lanka. The grouping was formed in the year 1997.
On April 1, 2021, the BIMSTEC foreign minister meeting took place virtually. During the meet, the agenda for the leaders’ meet was discussed.
The Summit’s agenda will be the approval of the BIMSTEC Charter, BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity & BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters. The grouping is also working on the finalization of the BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement and the Motor Vehicles Agreement.
India has been keen on the grouping, with the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) unable to function well due to Pakistan’s politicization of many proposals of New Delhi.
In 2019, India had invited BIMSTEC heads of government and states for PM Modi’s oath-taking ceremony for the second term. After Sri Lanka, Thailand will be the host of the grouping.