True to the sole purpose for the formation of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina laid emphasis on expanding cooperation under this forum through creating a free-trade area, promoting investment and energy cooperation and enhancing people-to-people contact. She called for such bilateral, multilateral and regional cooperation in a statement at the inaugural session of the Kathmandu summit of the forum on Thursday. It is in line with this viewpoint that Bangladesh and India, and Bangladesh and Nepal agreed to boost economic ties and trade respectively. Such cooperation is all the more necessary to cope with the new dynamics that came as a result of fast changing global scenario.
Mutual cooperation for survival and development is as old as human civilisation. At the earliest dawn of civilisation, human beings – faced with tough challenges from nature – felt the urgency of standing together and fighting the adversaries on the basis of unity, not only for surging ahead and advancing civilisation but also for the dire necessity of survival. Had not they stood together and spearheaded their efforts jointly against the savage power of nature, they simply would have ceased to exist on earth as a distinct species. The net result of this solidarity is the continued existence and triumphant march of human kind.However, after the initial victory against nature through scientific and technological innovations of myriad forms, the need for mankind to stand together did not come to a close. While advancement of the global civilisation has brought them new opportunities, it has thrown new challenges before them, for which they are in a greater need for closing ranks on a regional or global basis. Even in today’s world, going ahead of a nation all by itself is completely unthinkable. Nations need to strive for progress and prosperity unitedly.
This is why nations have created innumerable regional forums to coordinate and extend mutual support to development efforts. Like many others of the kind across the globe, BIMSTEC is such a platform in the South and Southeast Asian region; the very name of the organisation signifies the core objective of forming this forum. The member states need to put into practice the founding philosophy of BISMTEC in order to enable them to face the challenges thrown by ongoing and emerging global realities.