KATHMANDU, Aug 31: Prime Minister of Thailand, Prayut Chan-o-cha, said that it is now time for BIMSTEC to review collaboration amidst the volatile political and economic situation, along with the current trend of nationalism, anti-globalization, protectionism and other emerging threats.
Addressing the Fourth BIMSTEC Summit onThursday, Thai Prime Minister Prayut argued that BIMSTEC must be prepared to tackle these challenges through dynamic cooperation and step up to be a key player to support Asia as a driving force of the global economy.
“The success of the 4th BIMSTEC Summit, therefore, lies in the exchange of experience, strengths and expertise of each member country on the basis of mutual trust, mutual respect and mutual benefit so that we can transform our region towards a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal,” he added, underscoring the connectivity, trade and investment, people-to-people contact, security, and science and technology in the region. Restructuring of the areas of cooperation would enable BIMSTEC to be more dynamic, he suggested.
According to him, Thailand stands ready to play a leading role in the proposed pillars during our future chairmanship of ASEAN in 2019 and APEC in 2022 to yield tangible results, sustainability, continuity and monitoring system are needed.
He reminded that connectivity is at the forefront of Thailand’s core national policy. “For BIMSTEC, I would like to propose that, at this initial stage, we collaborate to promote two main areas – transport connectivity and maritime connectivity,” he mentioned.
The Thai Prime Minister expressed his confidence that BIMSTEC would shine on the world stage once the member states successfully reached the BIMSTEC Free Trade Agreement.
Reminding that the BIMSTEC, in the inception, had aimed to make BIMSTEC a Free Trade Zone, he pointed out the need to hold on and make more efforts to realize the initial purpose of BIMSTEC founders at the earliest opportunity. “Let’s not forget that we have full potential in terms of working age population (over 1.6 billion people or 24 % of the world population), and as an emerging market with high purchasing power. Our region is also in a prime location between Indian and Pacific Oceans, flanked by two of the world’s top economies like India and China,” he asserted. RSS