The first ever BIMST-EC summit was held in Bangkok last week. BIMST-EC comprises Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The aim of this group is to achieve regional free trade by 2017. Trade among the seven countries is currently just over $7 billion. India’s participation in BIMST-EC is a key element in the country’s ‘Look East Policy’ and long standing approach of good neighbourliness towards all our neighbours, by land and sea.
The vagaries of climate and weather in the region concerns all the countries present in the meet. To enable all BIMST-EC countries to pool their scientific resources and to benefit from weather forecasting India proposed to set up a BIMST-EC Centre on Weather and Climate in New Delhi. India would also be willing to share its expertise in remote sensing for agriculture, environment and disaster management. India also proposed to host Ministerial conference on Energy cooperation in2005 to provide an impetus to the joint efforts in the area of the optimal utilization of the region’s rich energy resources to meet the growing demands.