Foreign secretary level officials of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) member states held a pre-summit meeting in Kathmandu, Nepal on Tuesday.
Chaired by Nepal Foreign Secretary Shankar Das Bairagi, foreign secretaries from the member countries are holding discussion to prepare the agendas for the 4th BIMSTEC Summit slated for August 30 and 31.
The meeting will also prepare a draft for Kathmandu Declaration that will be endorsed by a ministerial-level meeting slated for Wednesday, the Kathmandu Post reports.
Besides, the meeting will discuss issues related to clustering the areas of co-operation or downsizing them, strengthening the BIMSTEC Secretariat in Dhaka, and reviewing past achievements by the group, said Foreign Ministry Assistant Spokesperson Rambabu Dhakal.
BIMSTEC foreign ministers will meet on Wednesday to discuss the Kathmandu Declaration.
Other agendas include making BIMSTEC effective and result-oriented, institutional reforms and consolidation, and opening up regional centres on a number of topics that officials have been working on.
The final text or outcome of the summit will be agreed at the meeting of the foreign ministers on Wednesday before being approved by the heads of government.
Officials said preparations for the summit are complete. According to the itinerary, after completing two back-to-back meetings of the senior officials and foreign ministers, formal opening of the summit will take place on Thursday. The heads of government will start arriving in Kathmandu on Wednesday.
On Thursday, before the opening session of the summit, Nepalese President Bidya Devi Bhandari will meet with BIMSTEC leaders at her office and will host a luncheon in honour of the visiting delegates.
Formal opening of the summit will take place at Hotel Soaltee where all the heads of state/government will make their opening remarks during a programme to be chaired by Nepalese Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli. In the evening, Oli will hold talks with members of the delegation, including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
On Friday, BIMSTEC leaders will hold an informal meeting at Hotel Soaltee. Following the event, the heads of government will participate in the closing ceremony of the summit where the BIMSTEC Kathmandu Declaration will be adopted.
Meanwhile, KP Sharma Oli on Tuesday apprised Parliament of the 4th Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) going to be held in Kathmandu on August 30 and 31.
While addressing the parliament on Tuesday afternoon, PM Oli informed the lawmakers about the preparations and importance of the BIMSTEC.
He said this is the first regional-level summit organised by the new government after the implementation of the constitution and conduction of three-tier of elections. "We started preparations for the BIMSTEC after the formation of new government," he added.
Saying that the summit is going to be held under the theme of 'Towards Peaceful, Prosperous and Sustainable bay of Bengal Region, PM Oli expressed the hope that this summit will expand economic cooperation and connectivity (railways, transportation, energy and airways).
"Though BIMSTEC should be in held every two years, we are holding the BIMSTEC for the fourth time albeit it has been 20 years since BIMSTEC was established," the Nepalese Prime Minister said.
Though BIMSTEC has 14 priority sectors, this summit has integrated two more priority sectors-Blue Economy and Mountain Economy, he said.
PM Oli, who is also the Co-Chair of newly formed Nepal Communist Party (NCP), said the issues related to trade, connectivity, environment and campaign against organised crimes will be discussed in the summit.
He said BIMSTEC charter will also be formulated in this conference.