India to work with BIMSTEC members to improve regional connectivity: PM Modi

India is committed to work with the BIMSTEC member states to enhance regional connectivity and combat the menace of terrorism and drug trafficking, Prime Minister Narendra Modi said while addressing the inaugural session of the 4th BIMSTEC summit here. He also called for “cooperation and coordination” among member states in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts.

“There is no country in the region which has not suffered from terrorism and trans-national crimes such as drug trafficking linked to networks of terrorism,” he told the summit which was inaugurated by Nepal Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli.

Modi said India is ready to host a conference under BIMSTEC frame-work on narcotics related topics. The BIMSTEC is a regional grouping comprising India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The grouping accounts for 22 per cent of the global population, and has a combined gross domestic product of USD 2.8 trillion.

“We not only have diplomatic relations with all BIMSTEC countries but are strongly connected by civilization, history, art, language, cuisine and shared culture,” Prime Minister Modi said.

He also said that India is committed to enhance its national knowledge network in the field of digital connectivity in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh, Bhutan and Nepal. The summit was attended by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and leaders from Thailand, Bhutan and Myanmar.

BIMSTEC stands for Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, is a multilateral grouping of seven countries: India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.

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