Senior officials lay groundwork for BIMSTEC Ministerial meet

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Kathmandu, Aug 10 (IANS) Top officials of BIMSTEC countries met here on Thursday to deliberate on different issues, including trade, communication, tourism, counter-terrorism and public health, to set the agenda for the 15th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting being held on Friday.

While Secretary at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Shanker Das Bairagi is leading the Nepali delegation at the meeting, the Indian team is led by Secretary in the Ministry of External Affairs, Preeti Saran. The Bhutanese team is led by Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Sonam Tshong and Bangladeshi team by Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Mohammad Shahidul Haque, the Kathmandu Post reported.

Myanmar is represented by Director General of the International Organisation and Economic Department of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, U Kyaw Moe Tun, while the Sri Lanka team is led by Additional Secretary of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs Grace Aasirwathan and the Thai team by Deputy Director General of the Department of International Economic Affairs of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Eksiri Pintaruchi.

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Established 30 years ago, Nepal, India, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand are members of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).

Its Secretariat is based in Dhaka, Bangladesh.

The meeting will deliberate on 14 different themes identified by BIMSTEC including trade, investment, transport and communication, energy, tourism, agriculture, counter-terrorism, poverty alleviation, public health, environment and natural disasters and climate change.

Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba is to inaugurate and address the minister-level meeting.

Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Krishna Bahadur Mahara will lead the Nepali team in the minister-level meeting of BIMSTEC which is in the 20th year of its establishment.

Mahara will also organise a dinner in honour of the participating delegates on Thursday evening.

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Nepal assumed the chairmanship of BIMSTEC, the sub-regional organisation of seven countries of South and Southeast Asia, in 2014.



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