NT: Nepal: Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba has underscored the need of stronger partnership and deeper collaboration among the BIMSTEC member states in order to combat the challenges facing the BIMSTEC region. In his inaugural address to the 15th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting in Kathmandu, today, Prime Minister said, “Poverty remains the most formidable challenge in our path to growth and prosperity.
We must collectively and decisively overcome this challenge to enable our people’s right to live with dignity and honour.” PM Deuba expressed worry that like any other regions, the BIMSTEC region confronts with the dangers of transnational crimes, terror and threats of destruction and damage. “Militant extremis, crimes, and human, arms and drug trafficking have deeply disturbed peace and harmony in our society,” he added.
He reminded that Nepal firmly and unequivocally condemns terrorism in all its forms and manifestations. Terrorism cannot be justified on any ground. According to him, climate change, and natural calamities pose serious threats to BIMSTEC’s very survival. Moreover, the PM Deuba said, “To talk of my own country, Nepal is vulnerable to natural disasters as evidenced by the great earthquakes in 2015. We’re also bearing the brunt of climate change despite out negligible contribution to greenhouse gas emission.”
The international community was informed about Nepal’s current political developments – implementation of the constitution the topmost priority, conduct of the local level election, and preparations for the next level elections, and engagement with all political stakeholders to create an enabling atmosphere to bring them on board. Likewise, the PM said regional cooperation remains an important element in Nepal’s foreign policy.
“We believe that regional cooperation is not a choice but a compulsion,” he said underscoring the need that development challenges of countries in special situation such as LDCs and LLDCs must be given due attention in any collaborative efforts. Attainment of SDGs remains all the more challenging in these countries. PM Deuba argued that Asia holds the key to future of the world, and the BIMSTEC region remains an important part of the Asian community.
“We need to ensure physical connectivity, digital connectivity, and connectivity of minds, especially among researchers and visionary thinkers all across the region. We need to work together with visionary blueprint for development,” he emphasized. Earlier, Foreign Secretary and Chair of 18th Session of BIMSTEC senior officials’ meeting, Shanker Das Bairagi, informed that the meeting discussed various issues as early finalisation of the BIMSTEC free trade area agreements, signing of MoU for the establishment of the BIMSTEC grid interconnection, conclusion of memorandum of association on the establishment of BIMSTEC technology transfer facility.
The meeting also felt the need for concentration on core areas (trade, investment, connectivity, energy, tourism) rather than proliferation, and he added It urged member states for an early operationalisation of BIMSTEC centers established in the respective member states. On the occasion, Nepal proposed to circulate a draft concept paper on Mountain Economy and host an expert level meeting to finalise the concept paper.