The National Security Chiefs of BIMSTEC countries, at their first meeting here today, identified terrorism as the single most significant threat to peace and stability in the region and decided to take concrete measures to enhance cooperation among their law enforcement, intelligence and security organisations to counter the spread of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation.

National Security Adviser Ajit Doval represented India at the meeting, which noted that BIMSTEC ((Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) member States face common security challenges and underlined the necessity of addressing traditional and non-traditional security challenges to harness economic prosperity and human security in the region.

The meeting underscored the importance of recognising the Bay of Bengal as common security space and agreed to work out collective strategies for common responses. BIMSTEC member States were also invited for a conference on counter radicalisation to be hosted by India.

Noting with concern the emerging trends in cyber space that have security implications, the meeting decided to deepen cooperation among the respective cyber institutions through a Joint Forum on cyber security, the MEA said.

It emphasised the importance of maritime security in view of the significance of the Bay of Bengal for the well-being, prosperity, security and socio-economic development in the BIMSTEC member States and decided to examine ways to further strengthen maritime security cooperation, including Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).

The meeting discussed ways and means of harnessing emerging space technologies for addressing security challenges. It decided to establish a Track 1.5 BIMSTEC Security Dialogue Forum to promote and encourage security dialogue among BIMSTEC strategic community.

India made an offer of 100 scholarships towards capacity building in security related sectors.

In view of the importance of security cooperation as a means to achieve the objectives of the BIMSTEC, it was decided to hold the meeting annually. The participants also called on Prime Minister Narendra Modi.