Amid Covid-19 crisis, Sri Lanka proposes BIMSTEC summit in January 2021

Kathmandu, October 9

The host Sri Lanka has proposed organising the fifth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation in January next year although the Covid-19 crisis has not subsided.

Nepal is also a member of the seven-state body that includes Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Officials of the member states are holding meetings to finalise a convenient date soon.

Sri Lanka does not want to defer the event; if the Covid-19 impact does not weaken, it will propose a virtual summit, it has been learned.

The summit was previously scheduled for January 2020, which was postponed amidst growing Covid-19 fears. The most recent (fourth) BIMSTEC summit was held in Kathmandu in August 2017.

Meanwhile, preparations are also underway to organise a meeting of foreign affairs ministers of the member states.

Currently, the regional body has concentrated its efforts on finalising a motor vehicle agreement and another free trade agreement. Likewise, there are programmes for terrorism control, sustainable development and climate change, energy cooperation, agriculture, tourism and mountain economy.

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