The fourth summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), held in Kathmandu on August 30 and 31, was “not fruitful” because of the inherent “weakness” of the regional inter-state institution, according to Dhaka University International Relations professor Dr Imtiaz Ahmed.
Speaking to South Asian Monitor in an exclusive interview, Dr Ahmed who, among other things, specialises in South Asian politics and foreign policy analysis, said that BIMSTEC’s foundation 21 years ago itself “is based on negatives”, including its establishment in the backdrop of India and Pakistan’s confrontationist relations and the “non-inclusion of China with which all seven member states enjoy trade relations”.
Dr Ahmed’s contention was that “BIMSTEC could go in a positive direction in the event Pakistan and China are included as member states in the future”, adding that one of the biggest drawbacks of the fourth summit in Kathmandu was the bypassing of the Rohingya issue which is related to a form of “state terrorism” by the Myanmar government.
Dr Ahmed touched upon some other key, but controversial, issues that bedevil South Asia and have more recently come in the way of smooth and friendly cooperative endeavours between some member states. Watch excerpts of the interview here.