Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal (second right) Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (left) Chinese President Xi Jinping (right) at Goa BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit in Goa, India on Saturday. Dahal’s wife Sita is also in the picture. Photo: Prakash Dahal's FACEBOOK
KATHMANDU, Oct 16: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) that connects two vibrant regions - South East Asia and South Asia - and be a dynamic engine of growth and development.
“Development potentials of this grouping are huge. With over 1.5 billion of population and combined GDP of US $2.5 trillion, this region can be a dynamic engine of growth and development,” said Dahal while addressing the BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreat in Goa, India on Sunday. “The engine of growth and development cannot perform in full capacity without intensifying cooperation. And BIMSTEC provides that vital platform for integration and cooperation.”
Underscoring the need of connectivity among the member countries, he said that for a landlocked country like Nepal the importance of physical connectivity, among others, was more vital.
“Energy cooperation should be directed toward ensuring energy security for all of us. Region’s diverse sources of energy could be harnessed to establish a reliable energy mix for the region,” he said adding that Nepal offers huge renewable energy sources in terms of hydropower.
He was of the view that without progress on core areas, deeper integration will prove to be an elusive quest.
The prime minister said that establishment of a BIMSTEC Buddhist Circuit and BIMSTEC Heritage Sites would be important initiatives to promote people-to-people contacts and tourism.
On terrorism, Dahal said the threat of terrorism and extremism was serious and that member countries must fight these evils resolutely and unreservedly. “Acts of terrorism cannot be condoned on any ground,” he said.
He also stressed the need for making some tangible progress in the region. “We have to acknowledge this fact -our progress has not matched our potentials; our progress has remained well below our expectation,” said Dahal. “We must, therefore, set a clear vision for the next 20 years or so. Our vision must be underpinned by our firm commitment and concrete actions. We need a realistic and outcome-oriented action plan to give practical meaning to our vision.”
He proposed to constitute an Eminent Persons Group for this purpose and to devise BIMSTEC’s vision in line with the UN 2030 Agenda, including Sustainable Development Goals.