Bangladesh postpones BIMSTEC ministerial meet at last minute


New Delhi : Bangladesh has postponed the ministerial meeting of seven-nation group BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) on poverty alleviation citing “poor response from the member nations” as the reason.

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Dhaka was forced to postpone the two-day meeting scheduled to be held on 9th and 10th January “because of poor response from the members” due to political turmoil in most countries of the bloc, Indian national TV news portal reported here quoting Bangladesh’s foreign office spokesman.

A Planning Commission release, without giving any details, said BIMSTEC meeting was postponed for “unavoidable reasons”.

The 9th BIMSTEC ministerial meeting was held in New Delhi on 9th August, 2006, which approved Dhaka’s proposal for hosting the first meeting on poverty alleviation in the light of Bangladesh’s experience in poverty alleviation initiatives such as micro-credit.

But officials said the last minute postponement might delay the regional organisation’s efforts to include poverty alleviation in the main agenda of its summit due this year in New Delhi.

The group was launched in June 2007 as a sub-regional forum of Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand and was named BIST-EC (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation).

After the inclusion of Myanmar in December 1997, the grouping was renamed as BIMST-EC or Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, and Thailand Economic Cooperation.

The grouping was again renamed as BIMSTEC or Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation after the inclusion of Bhutan and Nepal in 2004.