[Diplomacy] BIMSTEC Third Summit at Nay Pyi Taw, Outcomes, Obstacles, Trans border Connectivity, BCIM Corridor

Diplomacy55 Comments

  1. Prologue
  2. Outcomes: 3rd BIMSTEC summit
  3. Why is BIMSTEC important for India?
  4. Potential: Trans border Connectivity
  5. Obstacles
  6. What has China done in BIMSTEC countries?
  7. What has India done for BIMSTEC?
  8. Mock Questions

Prologue

There are two types of summits in the world:

  1. High profile such as Climate change summit under UNFCC; ASEAN, G20 etc. (something that directly/ indirect/y hurts @all three levels of exam)
  2. Chillar summits like this BIMSTEC. For them- don’t spend two days in PH.D. Focus on the following four areas only and finish within two hours.
  1. brief history, location & theme
that is usually newspaper + MEA briefs
  1. Highlight of PM/foreign minister’s speech.
that is usually uploaded @PIB/MEA
  1. outcome
that is usually uploaded on given summit’s official site
  1. Analysis/criticism: at most finish within two columnist.
  • That is usually C.Rajamohan.
  • IDSA-walla will write when they want to write. You need to finish summits before it gets too stale, and you’ve too many other topics on your plate, then you’ll lose the mood to cover this one.

Anyways, let’s check BIMSTEC summit on those parameters.

1997Formed in 1997, as BIST-EC(Bangladesh, India, Shri Lanka and Thailand economic cooperation),
2004
  • Renamed as BIMSTEC after Nepal and Bhutan Joined.
  • BIMSTEC (Bay of Bangal Initiative for Multisectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation)
  • Total seven: India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Nepal, Myanmar, Shri Lanka, Thailand
2004
  • BIMSTEC free trade area agreement (FTA) talks start
2008
  • 2nd Summit @Delhi
2014, March3rd Summit @ Nay Pyi Taw (New Capital of Myanmar.)THEME: Partnership for Harmony and Prosperity.
??Nepal will host the 4th Summit (cycle continues in alphabetical order.)

Outcomes: 3rd BIMSTEC summit

BIMSTEC summit highlights

Hardly any Major outcome, but anyways, here it goes:

  1. We’ll setup Permanent Secretariat @Dhaka, Bangladesh
  2. 2015 = declared as a Year of BIMSTEC Tourism.
  3. We’ll try to conclude the BIMSTEC Free Trade Agreement (FTA) in Goods by the end of 2014. [and then extend it to investment and services as well.]
  4. We’ll try to ratify convention related to
    1. international terrorism
    2. trans-national organized crime
    3. drug trafficking
  5. We’ll try to get everyone sign BIMSTEC Convention on Mutual Legal Assistance in Criminal Matters.

Filler lip service:

(Following words are common whether it is BIMSTEC or Burkina Paso, Kenya or Canada)….

  1. MSME partnership, technology transfer
  2. energy cooperation
  3. business visa
  4. fisheries, agro, livestock, healthcare (traditional medicine): joint R&D
  5. Poverty Alleviation
  6. cross border crime and terrorism
  7. And most importantly, sustainable development (= Desi liquor.)

so far we are done with (A) basics (B) outcome / highlight. Now comes the analysis/evaluation part.

Why is BIMSTEC important for India?

SAARCPaki Hostility. SAARC is like a big neighborhood- with India at center and small/poor countries on periphery. This peripheral nations struggle on both economic and political fronts. India did try to lead them but Paki Hostility prevents any collective efforts.
ASEANChinese bullying. Besides, we are not member countries of ASEAN.
BIMSTEC
  • at least here, India can play Big brother without (direct) influence of Pak or China.
  • BIMSTEC = look East for India; Look West for Thailand.

Potential: Trans border Connectivity

  • BIMSTEC= 20% of world’s junta, GDP >2.5 Trillion USD = big market for Indian exports + Manipur can be promoted for medical tourism. Buddhist heritage sites for religious tourism and so on.
  • BIMSTEC = a route to connect the South Asia with Southeast Asia.  Observe:
Chennai 2 Bangkok
  • Chennai (India) – Dawei (Myanmar) – Bangkok (Thailand). (sea/land corridor)
IMT Trilateral
  • India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway
  • will complete by 2016
BCIM corridor
  • will connect Kunming (SW China)- Kolkata (India) – Mandalay (Myanmar) –Dhaka|Chittagong (Bangladesh)
  • Southwest China = landlocked, poor, suffering from knife attacks from the Uyghur extremism coming from NorthWest province of Xinjiang.
  • China hopes, BCIM corridor will boost trade-tourism, thereby reducing poverty and extremism in its Southwest region.
  • December 2013, had official talk with India in this regard.
Andaman Nicobar islands.
  • Trans-shipment hub.
  • many foreign investors interested.
ASEAN Master Plan for Connectivity
  • to help the “ASEAN community” [Similar to European Union. will be setup in 2015.]
Kaladan
  • Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Facility
  • by the Ministry of External Affairs
  • Haldia/Kolkata Port=> Sittwe Port (Myanmar) => Kaladan River=> Road transport to Mizoram.
  • in other words, This project aim to provide alternate connectivity between eastern ports of India vs Mizoram via Myanmar.
  • will complete by 2016.

Kaladan Transport Project

Even Asian Development Bank (ADB), Japan and USA have shown interest in financing some of these projects.

Obstacles

  • Although BIMSTEC offers lot of potential, but it has remained as ineffective as SAARC.
  • The relatively rich /powerful countries = India and Thailand. If they take lead, others will follow.
  • But in recent times, Thailand is caught up in internal coups, political riots = their leadership doesn’t really have the time / mood to look at bigger issues outside their national border.
  • Infect, Thailand’s lady PM did not even attend this latest summit, because of ongoing turmoil.
  • If India takes the lead catalyst role, then rest of them will follow. But India has remained passive.
  • Most of the transport project that we saw above= they’re incomplete, just paper-talk, lip service, stuck for one reason or another.

Now compare India’s laziness with China.

What has China done in BIMSTEC countries?

  1. China already has special economic agreement with most BIMSTEC members (Except Bhutan and India)
  2. China uses Yunnan province as “base” for connecting with BIMSTEC. For example:
    1. They Completed oil and gas pipelines linking Yunnan (China) with Arakan coast (Myanmar). That too within four years. We cannot finish even a highway project with this much time.
    2. They have plans to high-speed train links from Yunnan (China) into Thailand, Myanmar and Bangladesh.

Trans-border connectivity China and its neighbours

Sri Lanka:China helped upgrading Colombo port; another port project in Hambantota; soon planning to sign FTA and so on.
NepalChina’s Qinghai-Tibet Railway. Nepal itself want connectivity upto Kathmandu. dry port in Larcha in Nepal

List not exhaustive, This was just tip of an iceberg.

What has India done for BIMSTEC?

India looks after four key areas under BIMSTEC : Environment; Terrorism; Transport; Tourism; (=ETTT)

Environment
  • India’s National Tsunami Early Warning Centre is providing early warnings
  • BIMSTEC Centre for Weather and Climate in Noida
Energy
  • BIMSTEC Energy Centre in Bengaluru
Education/Public Health
  • We give scholarship to students from BIMSTEC countries- including  AYUSH, traditional medicine related research.
  • Truckload of fancy coop in agriculture, public health, biotech, IT, human resource development and others
Trade
  • We’ll soon launch direct shipping line to Myanmar to improve our maritime links with BIMSTEC.
Crime
  • India spearheaded the negotiations related to counter terrorism, drug trafficking, organized crime etc.
Misc.
  • BIMSTEC’s permanent Secretariat will be setup in Dhaka. We’ll pay 32% Expenditure for running this one.

ok done many thing. But Asli maal comes from trade relations, oil-energy-gas pipelines. That’s where India lags behind China.

Our North Eastern states don’t have good rail-road connectivity with rest of India.

  1. Public sector has been lax in developing such infra @NE region.
  2. Private sector is not interested in developing such infra. @NE region.
  3. We saw how Manipur can be promoted as a hub for medical tourism. But Manipur is often subjected to “Economic blockades” by outfits= even LPG and petrol prices skyrocket. This negative publicity hurts tourism potential.

Our Government needs to fundamentally change the way it looks and treats North East. Otherwise, all these talks about trans-national corridors will remain hollow.

Mock Questions

Q1. Correct statements

  1. All BIMSTEC countries have coastlines along with Bay of Bengal
  2. All BIMSTEC countries are also members of ASEAN
  3. Both A and B
  4. neither A nor B

Q2. Correct statements about Third BIMSTEC summit held at Nay Pyi Taw in Myanmar.

  1. Nay Pyi Taw is the capital of Myanmar
  2. Cambodia was inducted as a member state of BIMSTEC.
  3. 2015 was declared as “The Year of BIMSTEC Tourism”

Answer choices

  1. only 1 and 2
  2. only 2 and 3
  3. only 1 and 3
  4. all of them

Q3. Recently, Indian and Chinese official met for initiating BCIM corridor project. This project aims to connect

  1. Beijing, Chennai, Mandalay, Dhaka
  2. Banglore, Chennai, Indore, Mumbai
  3. Kunming, Kolkata, Mandalay, Chittagong
  4. None of Above

Q4. Correct Statements by Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Facility

  1. This is a joint initiative by Shipping ministries of India and Myanmar
  2. To setup new ports at Dugarajapatnam (Andhra) and Kaladan (Myanmar).
  3. This project will also provide Rail-Road connectivity from Myanmar to Manipur.

Answer choice

  1. only 1 and 2
  2. only 2 and 3
  3. only 1 and 3
  4. None of them

Descriptive [GS2]

Answer in 200 words each

  1. “Trans-border connectivity with South East Asian countries is essential for both India’s strategic as well as economic interests.” Elaborate.
  2. “BIMSTEC could be a potential game-changer for the north-eastern India’s quest for prosperity.” Elaborate.
  3. Write a note on following (i) Kaladan Multi-Modal Transit Transport Facility (ii) BCIM corridor

Answers to MCQs: 1D; 2C; 3C; 4D

Ref

  1. Inputs from Ms.Rajtanil Solanki.
  2. MEA: for history, PM speech, steps, outcome
  3. C. RajaMohan: for Analysis

Visit Mrunal.org/diplomacy for more articles on International relations/ Diplomacy.

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So far 55 Comments posted

  1. Suneet

    sir manipur as medical tourism hub par plz light throw kardo… i checked online but the info was v mind boggling,,,,,

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