India to boost regional anti-terror cooperation through Bimstec

India to boost regional anti-terror cooperation through Bimstec

With Pakistan blocking most of the connectivity and counter-terrorism initiatives by Saarc, India is now set to rely on Bimstec to boost regional cooperation.

New Delhi is set to host a series of meetings of the representatives of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) nations to fast-track implementation of regional connectivity and counter terrorism initiatives.

Meet in Delhi

National Security Advisor Ajit Doval will host a meeting of his counterparts from other Bimstec member-nations – Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal – in New Delhi to discuss collective action against “spread of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation”.

India’s proposal to host a meeting of the national security chiefs of the Bimstec nations was agreed upon in a recent meeting of the senior diplomats of the seven member-nations of the bloc in Nepal, the Ministry of External Affairs stated.

India would also be hosting an international conference on countering radicalisation and the representatives of the Bimstec nations would take part in it.

New Delhi will push for early ratification of the Bimstec Convention on Cooperation in Combating International Terrorism, Trans-National Organised Crime and Illicit Drug Trafficking; early commencement of negotiations on the Bimstec convention on Extradition and early implementation of the Bimstec Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.

The South Asia Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) had also adopted a Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters almost eight years back.

But it is yet to come into force as Pakistan did not ratify the 2008 convention. Pakistan also blocked establishment of the Saarc Terrorist Offences Monitoring Desk and the Saarc  Drug Offences Monitoring Desk. The Bimstec senior diplomats’ meeting also agreed to boost regional connectivity initiative. India will soon organise a meeting of the Working Group to finalise the Bimstec Motor Vehicles Agreement.

An MoU on Grid Interconnection has also been finalised to facilitate electricity trade in the region. Pakistan had earlier blocked moves to ink similar agreements for free movement of rail and motor vehicles.

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