Agencies, Nay Pyi Taw
Prime Minister Manmohan Singh’s visit to Myanmar to attend the third BIMSTEC Summit is likely to witness substantive bilateral discussions with neighbouring countries Nepal, Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Myanmar, sources said today.
During his two-day visit to Myanmar, the PM will hold bilateral meetings with Nepalese Prime Minister Sushil Koirala, Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa, Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Myanmarese president U Thein Sein and Bhutanese PM Lyonchhen Tshering Tobgay.
‘’Meeting with neighbouring countries like Nepal. Bangladesh, Sri Lanka, Bhutan and Myanmar will be substantive. For, we have a special relationship with our neighbours.
Our relations with them are not election-driven. So, the PM’s meetings with leaders of these countries will be a substantial one,’’ they said. Later in the day today, the PM will have a bilateral meeting with Mr Sushil Koirala.
‘’In the last three to four years, there have been a series of agreements between Nepal and India,’’they said, adding that the bilateral talks would involve discussions on them. ‘’The two leaders will also discuss future developments,’’they said.
‘’Security challenges, both natural and man-made, require our collective vision and determination to be overcome. Peace, stability and development in BIMSTEC countries, with over 20 per cent of the world’s population and over US$ 2.5 trillion worth of GDP, is indispensable for the forward march of Asia as a whole,’’ he said.
Noting that BIMSTEC has evolved and matured further as a group since the last Summit in New Delhi in 2008, the Prime Minister said,’’With the impending establishment of a Permanent Secretariat in Dhaka and appointment of a Secretary General, it is poised to play a more active role in regional integration and cooperation.’’ ‘’Several BIMSTEC centres are being launched throughout the region, including three in India, to foster greater technical exchanges between member countries,’’ Dr Singh said.
‘’In the security sphere, we have steadily put in place enabling legal instruments for regional approaches to international terrorism, transnational crime, drug trafficking and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, the need for which is more salient in today’s integrated world than ever before. We set great store by BIMSTEC cooperation in the years ahead, for which this Summit should play a critical role.’’
During his visit to Myanmar, which is most likely to be his last foreign visit during the tenure of the UPA-II at the Centre, the Prime Minister is expected to hold bilateral meetings with his counterparts from the neighbouring countries— Sri Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh.