BIMSTEC Day message of Sri Lanka President Gotabaya Rajapaksa. I consider it a great privilege to convey greetings and best wishes of the Government and the people of Sri Lanka on the happy occasion of the 24th Anniversary of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).We take great pride to be one of the founder members of this prestigious initiative way back in 1997.

As the current Chair of BIMSTEC, Sri Lanka convened eight core BIMSTEC Meetings including the 17th BIMSTEC Ministerial Meeting during which Member States collectively finalized the BIMSTEC Charter, Rationalization of Sectors and Sub Sectors of BIMSTEC, MoU on Mutual Cooperation between Diplomatic Academies/Training Institutions of BIMSTEC Member States, with a view to adopt the 5th BIMSTEC Summit. The Secretariat has commendably supported and facilitated the process under the BIMSTEC frame work to achieve this outcome.

I wish to take this opportunity to convey that, Sri Lanka is considering hosting the 5th BIMSTEC Summit in the latter part of the year depending on the mitigation of the spread of the COVID -19 Pandemic and ease of travel restrictions in Member States. Although, BIMSTEC represents 22% of the world populations, it only contributes 4% of the World GDP.

Therefore, I strongly encourage Member States to continue to deepen cooperation to address the region’s challenges and to seize the many opportunities for shared progress. I reassure that Sri Lanka would remain committed to all BIMSTEC initiatives as we did in the past. Let all Member States of BIMSTEC harmoniously work towards achieving shared prosperity and peace for our peoples.