ADDRESS BY DASHO TSHERING TOBGAY PRIME MINISTER ROYAL GOVERNMENT OF BHUTAN BIMSTEC LEADERS’ RETREAT 16TH OCTOBER 2016 GOA, INDIA

Shri Narendra Modi-ji, Hon’ble Prime Minister of India, & Chairman of the BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreat,

Excellencies,

Ladies and Gentlemen:

I thank the Government of India for the warm reception and generous hospitality extended to my delegation and me since our arrival in Goa.

I would also like to convey my sincere appreciation to the Government of India and to Prime Minister Modi for organizing the India-BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreat, and for inviting me to participate at the first ever BRICS-BIMSTEC Outreach Summit later today.

Mr. Chairman,

Two days ago, BIMSTEC lost one of its most revered leaders who had deeply inspired not just his country, Thailand, but our region and the world at large. The people and the government of Bhutan would like to convey our deepest sympathies and condolences to the Royal Family and the people of Thailand on the sad passing away of His Majesty, King Bhumibol Adulyadej.

While Thailand mourns the passing of its great leader, let us all take inspiration from the late King’s selfless service to his country, and work towards making BIMSTEC, a dynamic and successful organization, for the benefit of our peoples.

Mr. Chairman,

We are actually already on the right path with this initiative, by you hosting this BIMSTEC Leaders’ Retreat. Further, since our last Summit in 2014, we have been making significant progress to strengthen our organization. For instance, the establishment of the BIMSTEC Permanent Secretariat, which Her Excellency Sheikh Hasina and the Government of Bangladesh kindly offered to host in Dhaka, has facilitated the effective functioning and better coordination, of our activities. Further, I commend Ambassador Sumith Nakandala, who since assuming Office as our first Secretary General in 2014 has steered the work of BIMSTEC in an efficient manner.

On our part, Bhutan is fully committed to working closely and collectively with BIMSTEC members to further the aims and objectives of our organization for the accelerated economic growth and social progress of the region.

Mr. Chairman,

To make BIMSTEC even more effective, we must strive towards enhancing economic interaction and meaningful linkages between South and South East Asia to tap our immense human and natural resources.

We must accord high priority to enhancing physical, economic and people-to-people connectivity. A strong BIMSTEC network in these areas would enable members to have easy access to diverse markets to promote greater trade and investments, and to contribute to reducing social and economic disparities in our region.

We must also work closely to address the common challenges we face such as terrorism, poverty, climate change and environmental degradation. As members, all committed to the ideals of BIMSTEC, and as countries that enjoy good bilateral relations with each other, we must collaborate to find lasting solutions to these common challenges.

In particular, we must combat terrorism through our collective efforts. The terrorist attacks such as the ones so frequently faced by India in recent months, not only affect the people of India, but is also a threat to regional peace, security and stability. If the conditions of peace and security do not prevail, it will become even more challenging for us to achieve the progress that our individual governments and regional organizations such as BIMSTEC have set out to achieve for our peoples.

Since its establishment in 1997, BIMSTEC has made remarkable strides in laying strong foundations for an effective and robust regional organization. In the process, it has enhanced regional integration and fostered common understanding among the peoples of the region. And as we celebrate the 20th anniversary of BIMSTEC next year, it will be an opportune moment, to rejoice in our collective efforts and achievements, under the different areas of cooperation. At the same time, we must reflect on being more innovative to make BIMSTEC more activity-driven and result-oriented.

Mr. Chairman,

With your initiative to host this Retreat as well as the Outreach Summit, my delegation is hopeful that India will play a leading role in transforming BIMSTEC into a vibrant organization. Given India’s undeniable economic strength and global influence, and your proven leadership and dynamism, India is well positioned to assume this leadership role.

Towards this end, Bhutan remains fully committed to make BIMSTEC a dynamic, responsive and effective regional organization that contributes to realizing the shared dreams and aspirations of our peoples.

 

Thank You and Tashi Delek!  

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