Foreign Minister AK Abdul Momen has said measures will be taken to expedite BBIN (Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal) initiative for greater socioeconomic development in the South Asia region.
“I’ll try to collaborate with all relevant ministries for expediting BBIN initiative which will basically help Bangladesh advance on the highway of development,” he said speaking at a seminar on the issue in Dhaka on Tuesday.
The Bangladesh Study Trust (BST) organised the seminar titled, ‘Bangladesh-India-Nepal-Bhutan – Regional Cooperation: Prospects and Challenges’ at Jatiya Press Club.
Former ambassadors Abdul Hannan and AKM Atiqur Rahman, former president of BGMEA Atiqul Islam, and Sompritee Bangladesh convenor Pijush Banadhyapathay spoke at the seminar chaired by BST General Secretary Mamun Al Mahtab Swapnil.
The BBIN initiative is a sub-regional grouping to promote connective among the four neighbours in South Asia. The failure of SAARC as a regional grouping has prompted those countries to form this sub-regional group.
Motor vehicle movement beteeen Bangladesh, India and Nepal has already started.
Speakers at the event said it is due to Pakistan that SAARC could not deliver in its more than 30 years of existence.
“It is in comma now,” the former ambassador Hannan said.
He said Pakistan formed another group named ECO with Iran and Turkey in 1985 when the SAARC was formed. “ECO also failed. Pakistan’s intention was never good.”
Connectivity is the key tool to ensure the effective regional collaborative partnership, he said.
He said a project is under way to build 500-kilometre road to strengthen regional connectivity between Bangladesh and India.
He stressed the need for sharing energy among the BBIN countries.
Bangladesh has already established power grid connectivity with India and there are huge sources of renewable energy in Nepal and Bhutan.
“Our energy consumption is less in winter, but that time it is high in Nepal and Bhutan,” he said, “We may give them (Nepal and Bhutan) power in winter and take electricity from them in summer.”
The foreign minister stressed regional cooperation in watershed management, saying that water is one of the major resources of Bangladesh.
He suggested further cooperation on education and tourism between the BBIN countries.