Chapter 2 : BIMSTEC : Achievements and the Way Forward
The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional organization comprising seven member states lying in the littoral and adjacent areas of the Bay of Bengal constituting a contiguous regional unity. This sub-regional organization came into being on 06 June 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration based on the proposal mooted by Thailand. Initially, the economic bloc was formed with four members during a special Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok and adopted the acronym 'BIST-EC ' (Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation) with Myanmar as an observer. Following the inclusion of Myanmar six months later on 22 December 1997, the Group was renamed 'BIMST-EC ' (Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand Economic Cooperation). With the admission of Nepal and Bhutan at the 6th Ministerial Meeting (February 2004, Thailand), the name of the grouping was changed to 'Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation ', retaining the same acronym (BIMSTEC).
The regional group with five members from South Asia, including Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka and two deriving from Southeast Asia- Thailand and Myanmar constitutes a bridge between South and South East Asia and represents a reinforcement of relations among these countries. BIMSTEC has also established a platform for intra-regional