Friday 19th July 2024
Friday 19th July 2024
गृहपृष्ठBusiness Nepal’s Foreign Secretary attends BIMSTEC FM meet amid domestic political drama

 Nepal’s Foreign Secretary attends BIMSTEC FM meet amid domestic political drama

KATHMANDU –  Nepal Foreign Secretary Sewa Lamsal is in New Delhi leading a delegation to attend the Second Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Foreign Ministers’ Retreat scheduled from July 11 to 12 in New Delhi.

The first edition of the BIMSTEC foreign ministers’ retreat was held in Bangkok on July 17, 2023. Indian External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar addressed his counterparts from the BIMSTEC member countries at the two-day retreat.

Jaishankar said the first part of discussion will revolve around connectivity, institutional building, cooperation in trade and business, collaboration in health and space, digital public infrastructure, capacity building and societal exchanges, as well as weighing on the merits of new mechanisms.

As the host country representative, Jaishankar emphasized the importance of BIMSTEC for the region, “For India, BIMSTEC represents the intersection of its ‘Neighbourhood First’ outlook, the ‘Act East Policy’ and the ‘SAGAR’ vision.”

“Global and regional developments also make it imperative that we find more solutions amongst ourselves. There are longstanding goals such as capacity building and economic cooperation that have acquired a new urgency,” he added.

However, questions are being raised in Kathmandu about Nepal’s secretary attending the Foreign Ministers’ meeting and whether this will influence the outcome for Nepal.

Nepal is currently undergoing a government transition. The stability of the Nepali government is fragile, and coalition partners are grappling with internal party conflicts.

This situation reflects poorly on Nepal, as a trusted neighbor and partner. The Nepal delegation is scheduled to return from New Delhi on July 13. By that time, there will be a new government in Kathmandu.

“During the retreat, discussions will be held on further strengthening regional cooperation and partnerships in agreed areas of mutual interests and complementarities within the BIMSTEC framework,” the Nepal’s Ministry of Foreign Affairs here said in a statement.

India is working to establish BIMSTEC as a dynamic and active regional organization, as the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) has not convened an annual summit since 2016.

As the SAARC group chair, Nepal had earlier declared that BIMSTEC will not take the place of SAARC.Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha had said Nepal will not accept the BIMSTEC to replace the other regional organisation, the SAARC. The BIMSTEC brings together seven countries of South and Southeast Asia for multifaceted cooperation.

Besides Nepal, BIMSTEC comprises Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Thailand, India and Bhutan. Thailand is the current chair of BIMSTEC and it is set to host the annual summit of the grouping later this year.

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