Chief advisor of the interim government, Chief Justice Tshering Wangchuk, represented Bhutan at the fourth Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit in Kathmandu, Nepal from August 30 and 31.
The summit witnessed the signing of Memorandum of Understanding for establishment of grid interconnection, which will facilitate greater cooperation in energy sector and adopted the fourth BIMSTEC summit declaration.
According to the Office of the Prime Minister, although the interim government is mandated only to carry out the routine functions of the government and not entitled to take policy decisions or enter into any agreement with foreign governments or organisations, the chief advisor participated in the summit themed “Towards a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal Region” on an ad referendum basis to avoid further delay of the summit.
Any decision and outcome documents of the summit will be subject to endorsement by the newly elected government, it added.
Speaking at the summit, chief advisor said that shared geography, history, culture and values provided a compelling setting to work together for common good. He said: “During the last two decades, our collective efforts have led to positive outcomes in political, economic, social and cultural spheres. While all of us agree that we can and must do more, we also recognise that there is a need for more coherence in our actions.”
Besides offering Bhutan’s commitment to preservation and protection of the environment, he also shared a few priority areas for regional cooperation such as the need to promote trade in the region, regional digital connectivity, need to address security threats through dialogue and cooperation and the need of foundation for regional understanding and collaboration.
The summit is the highest policy- and decision-making body in the BIMSTEC process. Three summit meetings have been held to date in 2004, 2008 and 2014.