MBA Aspirants are expected to know the happenings globally which might affect Indian foreign policy, thus impacting our trade & relationship with other countries.
Read: India's stakes at BIMSTEC 2014
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, also known as BIMSTEC, is an international organization that focuses on a number of areas which are of concern to its member countries, including low investments, trade barriers, poverty and transnational crime. It was formed in 1997 and today, it has grown in strength from a membership of four to seven countries - Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
This year, the BIMSTEC summit was held in Myanmar from March 1 to 4 and three pacts were signed by the member countries – the Memorandum of Association on the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Permanent Secretariat; the Memorandum of Understanding on the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Cultural Industries Commission (BCIC) and BIMSTEC Cultural Industries Observatory (BCIO); and the Memorandum of Association among BIMSTEC Member Countries Concerning Establishment of a BIMSTEC Centre for Weather and Climate.
In addition, the member countries agreed to implement the Poverty Plan of Action, as discussed in the January 2012 meeting, set up the BIMSTEC Network of Policy Think Tanks, and cooperate with one another to combat all forms of transnational crime and terrorism.
India has a huge stake in BIMSTEC and it is a good platform for India to enhance its trade relations with other South Asian countries and increase its trade partners in South East Asia. By maintain a cordial relationship with Thailand, one of the member countries of BIMSTEC, India will be able to increase its foothold in South East Asia.
This is one of the reasons why Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh called for fast-tracking a free trade pact among the BIMSTEC members and enhancing economic cooperation in the recent BIMSTEC summit. Since India is the largest economy in BIMSTEC and all member countries want to maintain good relations with India, the probability of India’s suggestions being implemented by the organization is high. Just after Prime Minister Manmohan Singh urged the member countries to accelerate the implementation of a free trade pact, a joint declaration on trade was issued by the heads of the member countries, with the aim of reaching a conclusion on the Agreement on Trade in Goods by the end of this year.
India is currently the victim of high inflation and low economic growth and it is hoped that by enhancing trade relations with the member countries of BIMSTEC, India will be able to witness export growth and substantial economic growth rate in the next few years.
According to reports, India loses more than Rs 61 billion (US$ 1 billion) in black money every year and such losses can be prevented if steps are taken to combat transnational crime, drug trafficking and money laundering. By increasing security at the borders, India will be able to reduce illicit financial outflows and this is possible through cooperation and information sharing among the member countries.
One of the pacts signed by India during the BIMSTEC 2014 summit is the Memorandum of Association among BIMSTEC Member Countries Concerning Establishment of a BIMSTEC Centre for Weather and Climate and this is particularly helpful for India because the primitive farmers in India are at the mercy of the weather.
Even though India has attained self-sufficiency in food staples, the productivity of the farms in India is below many states, including the US, Brazil and France. Climate change is something that cannot be solved by one nation alone and it is hoped that through cooperation among member countries in this area, India will be able to receive heavy rainfall during the monsoon season and ultimately, this will enhance the country’s agricultural growth.
No man is an island. Likewise, no country can survive or witness rapid economic growth on its own; every country is dependent on other countries and the same can be said about India. India needs the support of its neighboring countries to fight terrorism, transnational crime, and poverty and enhance economic growth, which is why India’s stakes in BIMSTEC are high.