The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Secretary General Tenzin Lekphell will visit India from August 22-25, 2022.
He is visiting India at the invitation of Saurabh Kumar, Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs (MEA). Lekphell will hold discussions with senior Indian officials on how to make the BIMSTEC organization and cooperation forward in keeping with the mandate of the BIMSTEC Leaders, read a MEA press release.
Lekphell assumed office as the Secretary-General of BIMSTEC on 06 November 2020. He is the third BIMSTEC Secretary-General. He holds a Masters Degree in Agriculture Development from Wye College, University of London, and Bachelors in Science from Sherubtse College, University Delhi.
After graduation, he volunteered to join the Royal Bhutan Army as a Militia Officer and served the country for about five years. Thereon, he joined the Bhutanese Civil Service and served for more than a decade.
India leads the Security cooperation pillar on the BIMSTEC platform that includes Disaster Management, Marine Cooperation and Energy Security, all of which are vital for the attainment of SDG targets in the region, added the release.
At the 5th BIMSTEC Summit held in Sri Lanka (March 3, 2022), Leaders of the 7 BIMSTEC member states (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand) adopted the BIMSTEC Charter thereby confirming the transition of this grouping of states, littoral to or dependent upon the Bay of Bengal, into a full-fledged regional organization with a distinct international personality.
India had stressed the importance of rapidly consolidating this newly created regional organization, and to moving BIMSTEC cooperation to the next level, read the release.
BIMSTEC allows India to pursue two core policies- Neighbourhood First (primacy to the country’s immediate periphery), Act East (connect India with Southeast Asia) and Security & Growth for all In the Region (SAGAR).
The grouping also provides opportunity for economic development of India’s northeastern states – by linking them to the Bay of Bengal region via Bangladesh and Myanmar.
It also allows India to counter China’s creeping influence in countries around the Bay of Bengal due to the spread of its Belt and Road Initiative.
BIMSTEC is a new platform for India to engage with its neighbours with South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) becoming dysfunctional because of differences between India and Pakistan.