BIMSTEC must boost its security, economic cooperation: BD envoy

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DHAKA, Aug 20, 2018 (BSS)- Bangladesh High Commissioner to India Syed
Muazzem Ali has called on BIMSTEC nations to enhance their security
cooperation to “Defeat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations”.

He was speaking at a panel discussion today with heads of mission from
BIMSTEC member states in India ahead of the fourth BIMSTEC summit scheduled
to be held in Kathmandu on August 30-31, according to a press release
received here.

The panel discussion was organised by Federation of Indian Chamber of
Commerce and Industry (FICCI), an apex business organisation and think-tank
in India.

The summit of the 21-year-old regional grouping that comprises Bangladesh,
Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

Referring to Sheikh Hasina’s zero-tolerance approach to terrorism and
violent extremism, Syed Muazzem Ali said Bangladeshi land is off-limit to any
terrorist activities. Dhaka, he said, does not allow any terrorist group to
launch attack against India or any other neighbouring country.

The envoy said security cooperation among BIMSTEC countries has increased.
“I firmly believe that within BIMSTEC, we should be able to strengthen our
cooperation to address terrorism and rise of violent extremism,” he said.

Syed Muazzem Ali said the foreign policy initiatives of Prime Minister
Sheikh Hasina’s government are focused on building stronger regional economic
and technical cooperation.

Bangladesh sees BIMSTEC forum as a tool for economic development through
regional integration.

“We draw inspiration for peace and development from Father of the Nation
Bangabandhu Sheikh Mujibur Rahman who in his speech on February 6, 1972 in
Kolkata had said, “Let there be an end, once for all, to the sterile policy
of confrontation between neighbours. Let us not fritter away our national
resources but use them to lift the standard of living of our people… We
want to cooperate with all concerned for creating an area of peace in South
Asia.”

The envoy mentioned that Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina was one of the four
founding leaders who had inspired the launching of the BIMSTEC in 1997.

“Her government attaches high priority to transform the BIMSTEC process
more dynamic, effective and to strengthening the institutional mechanism for
bringing out more results,” he said, adding that hosting the BIMSTEC
Secretariat since 2014 in Dhaka is a testimony of our commitment to the
BIMSTEC process.

Syed Muazzem Ali listed comprehensive connectivity, regional trade,
cooperation in energy sector and joint fight against poverty as areas of
BIMSTEC cooperation for the benefit of its 1.5 billion population.

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