5th BIMSTEC Summit in Jan; Bhutan names Lekphell as next SG

Dhaka, Sept 02 – The 5th BIMSTEC Summit, preceded by the 17th BIMSTEC Ministerial meeting, is proposed to be held in Colombo, Sri Lanka in the first half of January 2021 subject to the improved COVID situation. Initially, the 5th BIMSTEC Summit was proposed to be held early this month and got postponed due to COVID-19 pandemic.
With the hosting of the Summit, the Chairmanship of BIMSTEC will be handed over to Thailand for the period of 2021-2022.
BIMSTEC Summit of the heads of the BIMSTEC countries is the highest policy-making body in the BIMSTEC process.
The BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) Member States are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand.
Bangladesh Foreign Secretary Masud Bin Momen took part in the 21st Session of the BIMSTEC Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM) virtually held on Wednesday in Colombo, Sri Lanka.
The Foreign Secretaries and senior officials of all the seven BIMSTEC member states joined the first-ever virtually held SOM during this unprecedented COVID-19 Pandemic, said the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.
In his remarks to the forum, Foreign Secretary Masud expressed Bangladesh’s strong commitment to BIMSTEC process and stressed the importance of strengthening BIMSTEC institutional mechanisms and rationalisation of BIMSTEC areas of cooperation keeping in mind the challenges posed by the ongoing global pandemic COVID-19.
During the meeting, the Foreign Secretaries of the BIMSTEC member states recommended the appointment of next Secretary General of BIMSTEC Tenzin Lekphell nominated by Bhutan.
Tenzin Lekphell, a distinguished bureaucrat-turned politician, will replace incumbent Secretary General Ambassador M Shahidul Islam from Bangladesh.
While welcoming the appointment of the next Secretary General, echoing with other heads of the delegations of the Senior Officials’ Meeting, the Foreign Secretary expressed his confidence that the next Secretary General will carry forward the momentum of the BIMSTEC process ahead that have been created by the incumbent Secretary General through his dynamic activities and innovative initiatives.
Bangladesh facilitated and supported the endorsement of a series of vital documents at the 21st Session of the BIMSTEC Senior Officials’ Meeting chaired by Admiral Prof Jayanath Colombage, the Foreign Secretary of Sri Lanka and 4th BIMSTEC Permanent Working Committee (BPWC) Meeting, also virtually held on 31st August 2020.
The meeting recommended some critical legal documents like the BIMSTEC Charter, Convention on Cooperation on Criminal and Legal Matters, MOA on Technology Transfer Facilities, MOU on Cooperation among Diplomatic Training Academies, Template of MOA on BIMSTEC Centers and Entities, finalisation of BIMSTEC Transport Connectivity Master Plan to be signed during the 5th BIMSTEC Summit.
With the finalisation of the BIMSTEC Charter, a long overdue document since BIMSTEC’s inception, it is expected that BIMSTEC will move on a fast track.
Moreover, the SOM considered the report of 4th BPWC Meeting that has finalised and recommended some more important legal documents, including Rules of Procedures, Procurement Policy, granting GPF to local staffs, finalisation of the Organogram of BIMSTEC.
In addition, the 21st SOM prepared the agenda of the 17th Ministerial Meeting and the 5th BIMSTEC Summit. – UNB