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Invited for Modi’s Swearing-in, Are BIMSTEC Nations Now India’s Preferred Choice Over SAARC?

Post by Admin,May 26,2019.
News

India has invited leaders of the seven BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) nations for Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s swearing-in ceremony on May 30. The President of the Kyrgyz Republic, Sooronbay Jeenbekov and the Prime Minister of Mauritius, Pravind Jugnauth are also the invitees.

  • Kyrgyzstan has been invited as a current chair of SCO (Shanghai Cooperation Organization) and Mauritius is a key link in the plan to set up a chain of military installations in the Indian Ocean.
  • According to available information, the Prime Minister of Pakistan is not on the list of invitees.
  • India had invited leaders of all the SAARC (South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation) countries in the last swearing-in ceremony of the Prime Minister.

BIMSTEC and not SAARC?

  • India has shifted the focus to BIMSTEC since the last SAARC Summit, which was scheduled to be held in Islamabad in November 2016, stalled after India and several other countries pulled out due to terror-related concerns. 
    • The souring of ties with Pakistan has led the government to avoid the SAARC umbrella in order to ensure Islamabad is excluded.
    • BIMSTEC has Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand besides India.
    • SAARC includes Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka
  • The culmination of both India’s 'Neighbourhood First' and 'Act East' happens in the region of the Bay of Bengal.
    • India’s Neighbourhood first policy means working with neighbours in a way so that both sides feel their interests are being advanced. Through this policy, India wants to improve its ties with its immediate neighbours.
    • India's Act East Policy focuses on the extended neighbourhood in the Asia-Pacific region. It provides an interface between North East India including the state of Arunachal Pradesh and the ASEAN region.