At Dhaka, Bangladesh
The Secretariat of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) in Dhaka celebrated the 25th Anniversary of the regional organisation on BIMSTEC Day, 06 June 2022.
The celebration included a flag hoisting ceremony in the morning of 06 June at the Secretariat, and an Official Reception at the Dhaka Sheraton in the evening. H.E. Dr. A.K. Abdul Momen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh addressed the occasion virtually, as the Chief Guest, while H.E. Tipu Munshi, the Minister of Commerce of Bangladesh, H.E. M.A. Mannan, the Minister for Planning, H.E. Shahriar Alam, the State Minister for Foreign Affairs, and H.E. Esala Weerakoon, the Secretary General of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), graced the occasion along with members of the diplomatic corps, officials of the Government of Bangladesh, media personnel, and friends of BIMSTEC.
Welcoming the guests, the Secretary General of BIMSTEC, H.E. Tenzin Lekphell traced the evolution of BIMSTEC over the last twenty-five years from the signing of the Bangkok Declaration on 06 June 1996, and highlighted milestones such as the establishment of the Secretariat in Dhaka in 2014 and the signature of the BIMSTEC Charter during the Fifth Summit in Colombo on 30 March 2022. Stating that crises such as the COVID-19 pandemic also present opportunities, the Secretary General emphasised that in this context, BIMSTEC holds much promise as a platform for intensifying regional cooperation including strengthening intra-regional supply chains and trade. Flagging the adoption of the BIMSTEC Master Plan for Transport Connectivity which was adopted during the recent Fifth Summit, the Secretary General expressed hope that implementation of its components would help ensure the achievement of the region’s aspiration for a truly connected Bay of Bengal region.
Joining the gathering virtually, the Chief Guest, H.E. Abdul Momen, Minister of Foreign Affairs of Bangladesh stated that the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, H.E. Sheikh Hasina, who was the Head of Government of Bangladesh at the time of BIMSTEC’s founding had decided to take Bangladesh to the BIMSTEC forum following the dream of the Founding Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman to engage Bangladesh in working together with countries in the neighbouring region for collective benefit. The Minister of Foreign Affairs reaffirmed Bangladesh’s commitment to strengthen BIMSTEC to explore the highest degree of peace, progress and prosperity for the peoples of the region. The Foreign Minister expressed the hope that connectivity in the region would one day lead to visa-free mobility as well as free mobility of goods and services, and technology and capital.
The evening included the launch of a publication titled “25 Years of BIMSTEC – Towards a Peaceful, Prosperous and Sustainable Bay of Bengal Region”.
Dhaka, 08 June 2022