Foreign Minister Dr AK Abdul Momen on Thursday emphasised the implementation of the Bimstec Master Plan for transport connectivity for the greater benefit of the Bimstec region.
The Foreign Minister reiterated that connectivity can play a vital role in accelerating the pace of economic development of the Bimstec region through the facilitation of trade and investment, tourism promotion and people-to-people contacts, reports UNB.
He received the newly appointed Secretary-General of Bimstec (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) at his office and said Bangladesh wants the Father of the Nation’s dream of regional cooperation to be fulfilled through the Bimstec process.
Dr Momen hoped that the newly-appointed Secretary-General of Bimstec, Tenzin Lekphell, will be able to play a pivotal role as a bridge among Member States for thriving hard to achieving the goals.
He laid emphasis on the early conclusion and implementation of necessary agreements, MoUS, and other required legal documents in these sectors to ensure the overall development and wellbeing of the peoples of Bimstec region.
Dr. Momen said Father of the Nation Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman back in 1972 expressed his dream of economic and social prosperity of the South Asian peoples through working with the neighbours in the region.
Since then, he said, regional cooperation has been an integral component of the Constitution and Foreign Policy priorities of Bangladesh.
Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, daughter of the Father of the Nation, attaches high importance to the Bimstec Forum as a tool of regional movement which is manifested in hosting the Bimstec Secretariat in Dhaka, he said.
By the instruction of the Prime Minister, the Ministry of Foreign Affairs took an initiative to construct a new multi-storied iconic building for the Bimstec Secretariat, he added.
The Foreign Minister expressed pleasure on Tenzin Lekphell’s appointment as the third Secretary-General of Bimstec nominated by Bhutan, the first country to recognise Bangladesh as an independent country.
He welcomed him in Bangladesh and assured him of extending all sorts of support from the government of Bangladesh during his tenure here.
Dr Momen said the implementation process of Bimstec cooperation in various sectors must be expedited on a priority basis to harness quick dividends for peoples in the Bay of Bengal Region through the exploitation of the full potentials of this region.
The Foreign Minister urged the new Secretary-General that Bimstec with its 24 years of existence must produce visible results now.
Dr Momen said the Bimstec region has huge prospects for economic cooperation since much of the potentials remained unexplored and unexploited.
The Bimstec process needs concerted and quicker efforts and more intense engagements amongst the Member States for bringing out the best possible results for the mutual benefits of the peoples of the region, he said.
Dr Momen said the Bimstec forum provides an excellent platform to combat the devastating impact of Covid-I9 in the Bimstec region.
“Bimstec platform can be used in addressing multi-prong challenges in the Post-Covid-19 era in a more effective and powerful manner. The Secretary-General can play an effective and vital role in faster coordination and facilitation of this process,” he added.
Dr Momen said Bangladesh, as the Bimstec lead country for Trade, Investment and Development, is strongly committed to strengthening Bimstec cooperation in this important field.
The relevant Ministries and agencies of Bangladesh are ready to host all required meetings and events in this regard to foster the areas of cooperation, he said.
This sub-regional organisation came into being on 6 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration. It constitutes seven Member States: five deriving from South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and two from Southeast Asia, including Myanmar and Thailand.