BIMSTEC - Bay of Bengal Initiative on Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation

Bay of Bengal Initiative on Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a sub-regional grouping involving seven countries in South Asia and South East Asia. The BIMSTEC states are those which are on the shore or are adjacent to the Bay of Bengal and are dependent on it. They are Thailand, Myanmar from South East Asia and Sri Lanka, Bhutan, Bangladesh, Nepal and India from South Asia. The international organization was formed on 6th of June 1997, through the Bangkok declaration and is headquartered at Dhaka in Bangladesh.

BIMSTEC, in its first, held a conference on “combating drug trafficking” in New Delhi in February 2020.

The topic is important for IAS Exam from the perspectives of both prelims and mains. It is covered under Mains GS-II “Bilateral, Regional and Global Groupings and Agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interest,” section.

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BIMSTEC – Facts for UPSC Prelims

What is the full form of BIMSTEC? Bay of Bengal Initiative on Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation
How many nations are there in BIMSTEC? There are seven nations in BIMSTEC
What are the names of nations, participating in BIMSTEC? There are five south-asian nations:

  • Bangladesh
  • Bhutan
  • India
  • Nepal
  • Sri Lanka

There are two southeast Asian nations:

  • Myanmar
  • Thailand
When did BIMSTEC come into picture? It came into being in 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration
What is BIST-EC? BIMSTEC was initially a four-member states:

  • Bangladesh
  • India
  • Sri-Lanka and
  • Thailand

Called as BIST-EC where ‘EC’ stands for Economic Cooperation

When did Myanmar join BIMSTEC? December 1997, and BIST-EC was then called, BIMST-EC
When were Nepal and Bhutan admitted into BIMSTEC? 2004; and then present-name ‘BIMSTEC’ was taken over
What are the areas of BIMSTEC cooperation?
  • Trade and Investment
  • Technology
  • Energy
  • Transportation and Communication
  • Tourism
  • Fisheries
  • Agriculture
  • Cultural Cooperation
  • Environment and Disaster Management
  • Public Health
  • People-to-People Contact
  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crime
  • Climate Change

Objectives of BIMSTEC

Technological and economical cooperation among south Asian and south East Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal.

BIMSTEC is a sector driven cooperative organization and covers cooperation in sectors like communication, leather, textiles, transport, fisheries, human resource development, tourism, agriculture, investment, technology and commerce etc. Currently, there are fourteen priority sectors and each member country voluntarily leads one or more sectors. Counter terrorism & transnational crime and telecommunication & transport are dealt with by India. The grouping is a bridge between South Asia and South East Asia and constitutes a reinforcement of relations between the seven countries. It is of utmost significance to India as it is a major support in implementing its Act East Policy and the development of its ambitious ‘Sagar Mala’ project.

BIMSTEC – The first meeting of National Security Chiefs

  • The first meeting of National Security Chiefs of BIMSTEC member states was hosted by India in New Delhi on the 21st of March 2017.
  • The meeting was aimed at discussing the common security challenges faced by the member countries.
  • The necessity of addressing traditional and non-traditional security challenges to harness human security in the region was underlined, as security cooperation among the member nations is very important in achieving the objectives of the organization.
  • The Importance of maritime security was emphasized. The member states put forth their views to further strengthen the maritime security cooperation including Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief.
  • An agreement was reached to arrive at collective strategies recognizing Bay of Bengal as a common security space.
  • Urgent need for measures to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalization through coordination in law enforcement, security organizations and capacity building were also discussed in the meeting.

UPSC aspirants can refer to the RSTV debate on BIMSTEC and also on the comparison of roles of BIMSTEC and SAARC, from the links mentioned below:

BIMSTEC – UPSC Notes:-Download PDF Here

Also Read:


Candidates can find the general pattern of the Civil Service Exam by visiting the UPSC Syllabus 2020 page.

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