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What Is The BIMSTEC Grouping And How Is It Significant? [EXPLAINED]

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven South Asian and Southeast Asian nations, housing 1.73 billion people and having a combined gross domestic product of US$4.4 trillion (2022). The BIMSTEC member states – Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand – are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.

Why In News?

  • 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 Bay Of Bengal Initiative For Multi-sectoral Technical And Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Is A Regional Organization That Was Established On 06 June 1997 With The Signing Of The Bangkok Declaration.
  • Initially Known As BIST-EC (Bangladesh-India-Sri Lanka-Thailand Economic Cooperation), The Organisation Is Now Known As BIMSTEC And Comprises the 7 Member States With The Admission Of Myanmar On 22 December 1997, And Bhutan And Nepal On February 2004.
  • The Grouping Was Thus Renamed During The First Summit In Bangkok On 31 July 2004 As The Bay Of Bengal Initiative For Multi-sectoral Technical And Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).

Principles Of BIMSTEC:

  • Sovereign Equality & Territorial Integrity.
  • Political Independence & No-interference In Internal Affairs.
  • Peaceful Co-Existence & Mutual Benefit.
  • Constitute An Addition To And Not Be A Substitute For Bilateral, Regional, Or Multilateral Cooperation Involving The Member States.

Objectives Of BIMSTEC:

  • Creating An Enabling Environment For The Rapid Economic Development Of The Sub-region.
  • Encouraging The Spirit Of Equality And Partnership.
  • Promoting Active Collaboration And Mutual Assistance In The Areas Of Common Interests.
  • Accelerating Support For Each Other In The Fields Of Education, Science, Technology, Etc.

Institutional Mechanisms:

  • BIMSTEC Summit: Highest Policymaking Body In BIMSTEC Process And Is Comprised Of Heads Of State/Government Of Member States.
  • Ministerial Meeting: Second Apex Policy-making Forum Of Bimstec Attended By The External/Foreign Ministers Of Member States.
  • Senior Officials’ Meeting: Represented By Senior Officials Of Foreign Ministries Of The Member States.
  • Business Forum & Economic Forum: The Two Important Forums To Ensure Active Participation Of Private Sector.
  • BIMSTEC Working Group: Attended By Ambassadors Of BIMSTEC Member Countries To Bangladesh Or Their Representatives On A Monthly Basis At The BIMSTEC Secretariat In Dhaka.


  • The Secretariat Of The Bay Of Bengal Initiative For Multi-sectoral Technical And Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) In Dhaka And The Current Secretary-General Is H. E. Mr. Tenzin Lekphell Assumed Office As The Secretary-General Of BIMSTEC On 06 November 2020. He Is The 3rd BIMSTEC Secretary-General.

Significance Of BIMSTEC:

  • Major Shipping Route: A Fourth Of The World’s Traded Goods Cross The Bay Of Bengal Every Year.
  • Huge Market: Bimstec Grouping Is Home To Around 1.5 Billion People That Constitute Around 22% Of The Global Population.
  • High Growth Potential: With A Combined Gross Domestic Product (GDP) Of 3.8 Trillion Economies, BIMSTEC Member States Have Been Able To Sustain An Average 6.5% Economic Growth Trajectory In The Recent Past.

Major Sectors Of Cooperation:

  • Trade, Investment, And Development
  • Environment & Climate Change
  • Security
  • Agriculture And Food Security
  • People-to-people Contact
  • Science, Technology & Innovation
  • Connectivity

Significance For India:

  • Allows India To Pursue Three Core Policies: Neighborhood First – Primacy To The Country’s Immediate Periphery; Act East – Connect India With Southeast Asia; And Economic Development Of India’s The Northeastern States – By Linking Them To The Bay Of Bengal Region Via Bangladesh And Myanmar.
  • China Factor: Allows India To Counter China’s Creeping Influence In Countries Around The Bay Of Bengal Due To The Spread Of Its Belt And Road Initiative.
  • Alternative To SAARC: A New Platform For India To Engage With Its Neighbors With South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation (SAARC) Becoming Dysfunctional Because Of Differences Between India And Pakistan.


Challenges To BIMSTEC:

  • Inconsistency In Meetings: BIMSTEC Planned To Hold Summits Every Two Years, Ministerial Meetings Every Year, But Only Four Summits Have Taken Place In 20 Years Up to 2018.
  • Non-Serious Member States: It Seems That India Has Used Bimstec Only When It Fails To Work Through SAARC In The Regional Setting And Other Major Members Like Thailand And Myanmar Are Focused More On ASEAN Than BIMSTEC.
  • Broad Focus Areas: The Focus Of BIMSTEC Is Very Wide, Including 14 Areas Of Cooperation Like Connectivity, Public Health, Agriculture Etc. It Is Suggested That BIMSTEC Should Remain Committed To Small Focus Areas And Cooperate In Them Efficiently.
  • Bilateral Issues Between Member Nations: Bangladesh Is Facing One Of The Worst Refugee Crisis Of Rohingyas From Myanmar Who Is Fleeing Prosecution In The State Of Rakhine In Myanmar. There Is A Border Conflict Between Myanmar And Thailand.
  • No Free Trade Agreement: BIMSTEC FTA Was Negotiated In 2004, Talks On It Are Yet To Be Concluded.
  • BCIM Forum: The Formation Of Another Sub-regional Initiative, The Bangladesh-China-India-Myanmar (BCIM) Forum, With The Proactive Membership Of China, Has Created More Doubts About The Exclusive Potential Of BIMSTEC.

Also Check Out: Everything You Need To Know About SAARC: South Asian Association For Regional Cooperation


  • BIMSTEC Was Founded In
  • 1995
  • 1996
  • 1997
  • 1998


  • BIMSTEC Was Formed Through
  • Bangkok Declaration
  • Dhaka Declaration
  • Delhi Declaration
  • Colombo Declaration


  • Not A Principle Of BIMSTEC
  • Territorial Integrity
  • Political Independence
  • No interference in Internal Affairs
  • Mutual Exploitation


  • 5th BIMSTEC Summit Is Hosted By
  • India
  • Sri Lanka
  • Thailand
  • Myanmar


  • Odd One Out Regarding BIMSTEC
  • Bridge Between South And Southeast Asia
  • Intra-regional Cooperation Between SAARC And ASEAN
  • Represents Around 22% Of The Global Population
  • None Of The Above


  • First Heads Of BIMSTEC Summit Took Place In
  • 1997
  • 1999
  • 2004
  • 2007


  • First Heads Of BIMSTEC Summit Took Place At
  • Bangkok
  • Kathmandu
  • Colombo
  • New Delhi


  • Secretariat Of BIMSTEC Is In
  • Bangkok
  • Kathmandu
  • Dhaka
  • New Delhi


  • Current Secretary-General Of BIMSTEC Is
  • Tenzin Lekphell
  • M Shahidul Islam
  • Sumith Nakandala
  • Ajay Mishra


  • Following Satellite Is Also Called As “Indian Angry Bird”
  • Security
  • Science & Technology
  • Connectivity
  • Entertainment


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