Modi calls for better regional connectivity at BIMSTEC meet


(L-R) Myanmar's first lady Daw Cho Cho, Nepal's first lady Radhika Shakya, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena, Nepal's Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, Myanmar's president Win Myint, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice as well as Chief Advisor of the interim government of Bhutan Dasho Tshering Wangchuk and Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pose for a group photo during the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit in Kathmandu, Nepal August 31, 2018. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar/Pool
(L-R) Myanmar's first lady Daw Cho Cho, Nepal's first lady Radhika Shakya, Thailand's Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha, Sri Lanka's President Maithripala Sirisena, Nepal's Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli, Myanmar's president Win Myint, India's Prime Minister Narendra Modi, Chief Justice as well as Chief Advisor of the interim government of Bhutan Dasho Tshering Wangchuk and Bangladesh's Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina pose for a group photo during the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit in Kathmandu, Nepal August 31, 2018. REUTERS/Navesh Chitrakar/Pool

Indian prime minister Narendra Modi has called for better regional connectivity at the recently concluded BIMSTEC meet in Kathmandu, Nepal.

Modi said India was committed to work with the BIMSTEC member states to enhance regional connectivity and combat the menace of terrorism and drug trafficking. Modi also emphasised the need for “cooperation and coordination” among member states in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts, reported news agency Press Trust of India (PTI).

“There is no country in the region which has not suffered from terrorism and trans-national crimes such as drug trafficking linked to networks of terrorism,” he said.

The BIMSTEC is a regional grouping comprising India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The grouping accounts for 22 per cent of the global population, and has a combined gross domestic product of $2.8 trillion.

“We not only have diplomatic relations with all BIMSTEC countries but are strongly connected by civilisation, history, art, language, cuisine and shared culture,” said the prime minister.

The summit was attended by Bangladesh prime minister Sheikh Hasina, Sri Lankan president Maithripala Sirisena and leaders from Thailand, Bhutan and Myanmar.

On Friday (31), Modi held a series of bilateral meetings, including discussions with his Thai counterpart Prayut Chan-o-cha and Myanmar president Win Myint.

“Mr Prayut Chan-o-cha and I had a great meeting. Our talks focussed on boosting cooperation between India and Thailand for the mutual benefit of our citizens,” Modi tweeted.

“The prime minister of Thailand, Mr. Prayut Chan-o-cha and PM @narendramodi held productive talks in Kathmandu. Their discussions focussed on strengthening bilateral cooperation between India and Thailand,” the prime minister’s office tweeted.

Modi also met Win Myint and discussed ways to strengthen bilateral cooperation.

“Our discussions were centred around enhancing cooperation in trade, energy and several other sectors,” Modi said.