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India committed to work for regional connectivity

By The Assam Tribune

KATHMANDU, Aug 30 - Making a strong pitch for enhanced regional connectivity, Prime Minister Narendra Modi today said India is committed to work with the BIMSTEC member states in the critical sector and to combat the menace of terrorism and drug trafficking.

�I believe that there is a big opportunity for connectivity � trade connectivity, economic connectivity, transport connectivity, digital connectivity, and people-to-people connectivity,� he said while addressing the inaugural session of the 4th BIMSTEC summit here.

The BIMSTEC is a regional grouping comprising India, Bangladesh, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The grouping accounts for 22 per cent of the global population, and has a combined gross domestic product of USD 2.8 trillion.

�India is committed to work with the BIMSTEC member states to enhance regional connectivity,� Modi said, adding, this region has become a meeting point for India�s Neighbourhood First and Act East policies.

�There is no country in the region which has not suffered from terrorism and transnational crimes such as drug trafficking linked to networks of terrorism,� he told the summit which was inaugurated by Nepal Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.

Modi said India is ready to host a conference under BIMSTEC framework on narcotics related topics.

The BIMSTEC member states situated between the Himalayas and the Bay of Bengal face frequent natural disasters such as flood, cyclone and earthquake, Modi said and called for �cooperation and coordination� among them in humanitarian assistance and disaster relief efforts. �We need to work together in the areas of trade, economic, transport, digital and people-to-people connectivity for our common benefit,� he added.

Modi said India will host International Buddhist Conclave in August 2020 and invited all BIMSTEC member states to attend the event as guests of honour. He also offered to hold a BIMSTEC Youth Summit and form a BIMSTEC Women Parliamentarians Forum.

He also hailed the BIMSTEC Multinational military exercise being held in India next month.

The summit was attended by Bangladesh Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina, Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena, Thailand Premier Prayut Chan-o-cha, Myanmar�s President Win Myint and Chief Advisor to the Government of Bhutan Gyalpo Tshering Wangchuk. � PTI

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