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22 March, 2017 04:36:32 PM / LAST MODIFIED: 22 March, 2017 04:39:54 PM
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Bimstec countries see Bay of Bengal as common security space

1st national security chiefs meet discusses strategies to address challenges
Independent Online Desk
Bimstec countries see Bay of Bengal as common security space

Bimstec member states have underscored the importance of recognising the Bay of Bengal as a common security space, saying terrorism continues to remain the single most dangerous threat to peace and stability in the Bay region.

The first meeting of the National Security chiefs of the Bimstec member states was hosted by India in New Delhi on Tuesday where they agreed to work out collective strategies for common responses.

The meeting noted that Bimstec states face common security challenges and underlined the necessity of addressing traditional and non-traditional security challenges to harness economic prosperity and human security in the region, according to a joint press release.

The meeting was held in pursuance to the decisions taken at the Bimstec Leaders' Retreat held in Goa, India on October 16, 2016.

The National Security chiefs recognised the need for urgent measures to counter and prevent the spread of terrorism, violent extremism and radicalisation and decided to take concrete measures to enhance cooperation and coordination among their law enforcement, intelligence and security organisations and enhance capacity building.

The Bimstec states were also invited for a conference on counter radicalisation to be hosted by India, according to Indian Ministry of External Affairs.

Noting with concern the emerging trends in cyberspace that have security implications, the meeting decided to deepen cooperation among the respective cyber institutions through a Joint Forum on cyber security.

The meeting emphasised the importance of maritime security in view of the significance of the Bay of Bengal for the wellbeing, prosperity, security and socioeconomic development in its member states and decided to examine ways to further strengthen maritime security cooperation, including Humanitarian Assistance and Disaster Relief (HADR).

They discussed ways and means of harnessing emerging space technologies for addressing security challenges.

The meeting reviewed the progress made in Bimstec Joint Working Group on Counter Terrorism and Transnational Crimes and its Sub-Groups and decided that Bimstec National Security Chiefs/Advisers will oversee implementation of their work.

It decided to establish a Track 1.5 Bimstec Security Dialogue Forum to promote and encourage security dialogue among Bimstec strategic community.

In view of the inter-linkages between the Himalayan and the Bay of Bengal ecological systems, the meeting considered setting up of a Bimstec Himalayan Science Council to bring together scientific institutions to study the health of the ecological systems and their impact on human security.

Major General (retd) Tarique Ahmed Siddique, Defence and Security Adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh; Sonam Topgay, Secretary, Ministry of Home and Cultural Affairs of Bhutan; Thaung Tun, National Security Advisor of Myanmar; Singha Bahadur Shrestha, Inspector General, Armed Police Force of Nepal; Brig MDUV Gunatilake, Director, Military Intelligence of the Democratic Socialist Republic of Sri Lanka; Vera Urairat, Deputy Secretary General of the National Security Council of the Kingdom of Thailand and Sumith Nakandala, Secretary General of Bimstec participated in the meeting chaired by Ajit Doval, National Security Adviser of India.

They also called on Shri Narendra Modi, the Prime Minister of India.

India made an offer of 100 scholarships towards capacity building in security related sectors.

In view of the importance of security cooperation as a means to achieve the objectives of Bimstec, it was decided to hold the meeting annually.

The meeting welcomed Bangladesh's offer to host the next meeting.UNB.

 

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Editor : M. Shamsur Rahman
Published by the Editor on behalf of Independent Publications Limited at Media Printers, 446/H, Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1215.
Editorial, News & Commercial Offices : Beximco Media Complex, 149-150 Tejgaon I/A, Dhaka-1208, Bangladesh. GPO Box No. 934, Dhaka-1000.

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