IMPHAL, February 8: The Integrating BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) 2014 focusing on fourteen pillars of co-operation was held today at the Classic Hotel, Imphal.
The function was organised by the Indian Chamber of Commerce under the aegis of Ministry of External affairs, Govt of India.
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia comprising of Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
BIMSTEC has been focusing on fourteen priority sectors cover all areas of cooperation. The fourteen priority sectors are Trade and Investment led by Bangladesh, Transport and Communication led by India, Energy led by Myanmar, Tourism led by India, Technology led by Sri Lanka, Fisheries led by Thailand, Agriculture led by Myanmar, Public Health led by Thailand, Poverty Alleviation led by Nepal, Counter-Terrorism and Transnational Crime led by India, Environment and Natural Disaster Management led by India, Culture led by Bhutan, People to People contact led by Thailand and Climate change led by Bangladesh respectively.
State chief minister Okram Ibobi Singh during the valedictory session said that Manipur is a tiny state, but without proper connectivity there cannot be development.
The NE region and especially Manipur is located in such way that this state is going to play an important role in bringing the long cherished prosperity not only to India but also to bordering countries viz., Myanmar and Bangladesh as envisaged in “Look-east policy of India” and goal of “BIMSTEC”.It is pertinent to mention that Indian Chamber of Commerce is playing a major role in this endeavour, he said.
The Manipur State has a good agro climatic condition, rich bio-diversity –herbal & medicinal plants, high horticultural potential, rich forest and water resources. Added to this, the State has a high literacy rate apart from being a gateway to South East Asia. It has a large potential of sport talents with rich cultural heritage, he continued.
Considering the development potential of the state, the State Government has identified a few priority sectors in Tourism, Health tourism,Power, IT, Horticulture and Agro & Food Processing for attracting private investment in Manipur, further elaborated the CM.
He also asserted that Manipur has immense tourism potential; and further added that the State government has established an IT Park at Imphal with the first phase of about 20000 sq ft of space already completed and to be functional within this current year.
Manipur has very good agro climatic conditions for growing various food and cash crops, horticultural crops and floriculture and has about 150 spices of orchids preserved in the orchid preservation centres in the State, he continued.
A dozen of hydro power potential sites have been identified in Manipur, he said before adding that the total potential so far assessed is 1784 MW as against which only 105 MW has been able to harness. The State government has already initiated the process for inviting investment from Private companies/corporations in this area.
The Govt. of India is setting up an Integrated Check Post at Moreh for promotion of trade and tourism between India and Myanmar through Moreh-Tamu Sector, he said.
He appealed to Sanjay Bhattacharyya, Joint Secretary, Ministry of External Affairs, Govt of India to speak about the problem facing by the state to PM and also External Affairs Minsiter Salman Khurid to ponder on this issue.
During the inaugural session, Dr Nitin Kumar Tripathi, editor-in-chief of the International Journal of Geoinformatics delivered a speech on Cooperation on sharing of Remote Sensing Data on Agriculture, Environment and Disaster Management, while Kavita Iyenger, economist, Indian Resident Mission, Asian Development Bank talked on “Unlocking economic potential through BIMSTEC transport connectivity.”
Dr Jayantha Dias Samarasinghe, chairman, Sri Lanka Council for Agricultural Research Policy also spoke on “The Need of a Common Agenda for Agricultural Policy Framing to Ensure Food Security in BIMSTEC region.”
PW Ingty, pprincipal secretary, department of commerce and Industry, Govt of Meghalaya also addressed during the function which was followed by the BIMSTEC vision by Sanjoy Bhattacharya, joint secretary, ministry of External Affairs, Govt of India.
Chief secretary of Manipur, PC Lawmkunga also addressed the inaugural function as the chief guest.
In the valedictory session – 1, state chief minister Okram Obobi Singh attended as chief guest and Abdul Matlub Ahmad, special advisor and founder president of IBCCI Bangladesh made the introductory remarks.
Indrajith De Silva, deputy director marketing, Sri Lanka Tourism Promotion Bureau spoke on “Unlocking Huge Potentials of Buddhist Tourism in BIMSTEC countries: A Need of the hour.” Lungtaen Gyatso, director, Institute of Language and Cultural Studies, Royal University of Bhutan spoke on Synergies in History, Art and Culture of BIMSTEC nations: Building solidarity as a region while Aslam Perwaiz, Head, Disaster Management System, Asian Disaster Preparedness Centre, Thailand discourse on Environment and Disaster Management in BIMSTEC countries. Shahab Khan, Research Director, BEI, Bangladesh spoke Non Tariff Barrier in Trade between Bangladesh and the North East India.