NEW DELHI, Aug 31 - With an eye on boosting connectivity among the BIMSTEC nations, the Kathmandu Declaration agreed that the Master Plan on Transport Connectivity would serve as a strategic document that guides actions and promotes synergy among various connectivity frameworks, such as the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity 2025.
The BIMSTEC declaration, signed in Kathmandu today, may prove to be significant for the northeastern States given the focus on connecting the region with BIMSTEC States. In his inaugural address, Prime Minister Narendra Modi had yesterday said that India�s Northeast region will have an important role to enhance connectivity with the BIMSTEC States. India is ready to host BIMSTEC start-up conclave to enhance communication and connectivity among the entrepreneurs of the member nations, he had said.
Interestingly, Northeast was the flavour of the season in Kathmandu, with Prime Minister presenting gifts from the Northeast to the heads of States. �On the occasion of the Fourth BIMSTEC Summit in Kathmandu, Prime Minister Modi presented the BIMSTEC leaders gifts from India�s northeastern States. Made from golden muga silk, eri silk and cotton, the gifts comprised stoles and shawls depicting traditional motifs from northeastern States and the kantha embroidery of West Bengal,� a spokesman of the Ministry of External Affairs said. �The gifts underscore the development potential of our Northeast region through enhanced connectivity and trade and commerce in BIMSTEC region, including cultural and civilizational ties,� added the spokesman.
Meanwhile, BIMSTEC nations resolved to achieve, leveraging on the regional grouping�s unique position as a bridge linking South and Southeast Asia, an enhanced level of economic and social development in the region, and remain fully committed to consolidate and deepen cooperation among member states towards transforming our organisation into an effective platform to promote peace, prosperity and sustainability.
�Reiterate our resolve to establish seamless multi-modal transportation linkages and smooth, synchronised and simplified transit facilities through the development, expansion and modernisation of highways, railways, waterways, sea routes, airways in the region and direct our respective authorities to speed up their efforts to conclude the BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement and the BIMSTEC Motor Vehicle Agreement as early as possible taking into account the special circumstances and needs of the member states,� the Declaration said.
BIMSTEC states also noted with satisfaction the preparation of the draft Master Plan on Transport Connectivity and called for its early adoption and thank the Asian Development Bank for providing support to prepare the Master Plan and task the BIMSTEC Transport Connectivity Working Group to work out the modalities for its implementation, giving due attention to the special circumstances and needs of the member states.
PTI adds: Describing terrorism as a �great threat� to international peace and security, India and six other BIMSTEC nations today called for identifying and holding accountable States and non-State entities that encourage, support or finance terrorism, provide sanctuaries to terrorists and falsely extol their virtues.
The Kathmandu Declaration, issued at the end of the two-day 4th BIMSTEC summit, which was attended by Prime Minister Narendra Modi among others, deplored terror attacks in all parts of the world including in BIMSTEC countries and stressed that there can be no justification whatsoever for any act of terrorism.
�Terrorism and trans-national organised crimes continue to pose a great threat to international peace and security including in the BIMSTEC countries,� the Kathmandu Declaration said as it strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and manifestations wherever and by whosoever committed.
The declaration also called for strengthening cooperation and coordination among the law enforcement, intelligence and security agencies of the member states, holding meetings at the level of BIMSTEC Home Ministers and the BIMSTEC National Security Chiefs.
At the end of the summit, Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli handed over the chairmanship of the grouping to Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena.