NEW DELHI, June 9: On the occasion of the 24th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) day, Prime Minister Narendra Modi expressed cordial greetings o the member countries.
In a message he acknowledged the group’s recent accomplishments on a number of fronts and emphasised the importance of continuing to collaborate in the battle against the pandemic and in the proper coordination of the organisations’ actions.
In addition to commending Sri Lanka, the current chair, for providing capable leadership during this difficult time, Modi welcomed Tenzin Lekhpell from Bhutan as the new Secretary General of BIMSTEC and emphasised the critical role played by the BIMSTEC Secretariat in the effective coordination.
The Bhutan Ministry of Foreign Affairs commemorated the founding day of BIMSTEC by lighting a thousand butter lights at the historic Changangkha Lhakhang. Lyonpo Dr. Tandi Dorji, Foreign Minister of Bhutan was the event’s Chief Guest. In accordance with COVID-19 safety regulations, only a few senior officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, as well as Indian and Bangladeshi ambassadors to Bhutan, attended the ceremony.
Lyonpo sent his prayers and best wishes to the governments and individuals of the BIMSTEC area as countries in the region and around the world grapple with the pandemic’s challenges. Lyonpo stated that Bhutanese were fortunate to have his Majesty the King’s guidance and leadership in the fight against the pandemic. Lyonpo expressed gratitude to all BIMSTEC member states, particularly India, Bangladesh, and Thailand, for their solidarity and generous support in Bhutan’s fight against the epidemic, noting that the pandemic has brought the region’s countries even closer together.
According to a statement issued by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, Foreign Minister Dinesh Gunawardena, as a founding member of BIMSTEC, salutes all member states and the organisation for their unwavering contributions to keeping the wheels of BIMSTEC more even during the pandemic. He stated that the world is on the verge of a major economic and social crisis as a result of the unprecedented devastation caused by the COVID-19 pandemic, and expressed desire to host the 5th BIMSTEC summit in Sri Lanka in the latter part of 2021, subject to the restrictions imposed by the pandemic.
BIMSTEC was founded in 1997, and its seven member countries include India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.