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BIMSTEC Summit next month, SAARC under shadow

By Our Reporter
Nepal is hosting the fourth Summit of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) in Kathmandu from August 30 to 31.
The government has intensified preparations for the Summit.
Heads of State or Government from all six member states , including Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi will arrive in Kathmandu to participate in the summit.
The government has formed different committees as part of preparations. They include a steering committee headed by PM Oli, preparation and coordination committee headed by Foreign Minister Gyawali, sectoral committees led by other ministers and sub-committees led by secretaries.
A meeting held recently in Colombo, Sri Lanka, set the agenda for the fourth BIMSTEC summit.
According to Foreign Affairs Minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali, Nepal had accorded high priority to the multilateral gathering, especially, as it was being held after the promulgation and implementation of the constitution and beginning of a new political system in Nepal.
It was learned that Nepal has some expectations from BIMSTEC, especially, in the areas of connectivity, roads, railways and power grid network.
Poverty alleviation, climate change, cross-border crime control and other common concern will also be discussed in the Summit.
However, the BIMSTEC Summit is sure to put the SAARC in shadow. Of course, India has been promoting BIMSTEC in a bid to isolate Pakistan from the South Asian nations’ group. The 19th SAARC Summit which was postponed in the Indian pressure two years ago has not yet resumed. Pakistan was to host the 19th SAARC Summit.
There is still uncertain about the fate of the 19th SAARC Summit, but India, Nepal, Bangladesh and Sri Lanka, members of SAARC seem to be giving more attachment to BIMSTEC. It seems SAARC will be becoming defunct soon and BIMSTEC will be replacing it forcing Pakistan to join another group under China.

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