Member States Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and
Economic Cooperation, BIMSTEC met in New Delhi this week to discuss modalities
for promoting coastal shipping in the region.
In this first meeting of the Working Group held in the national capital
on November 27th and 28th, member countries discussed the
draft text of BIMSTEC Coastal Shipping Agreement drafted by the Ministry of
Shipping, Government of India.
Besides India, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Nepal and
Thailand are member countries of BIMSTEC.
The objective of the above agreement is to facilitate coastal shipping
in the region, thereby giving a boost to trade between the member countries.
The agreement would apply to coastal shipping that is shipping within 20
nautical miles of the coastline.
The requirements for movement of vessels in this part of the sea are
different from standard requirements of deep sea shipping. Coastal ship
movements require smaller vessels and lesser draft, and therefore, involve
lower costs. Once the agreement is ratified by the member countries and becomes
operational, a lot of cargo movement between the member countries can be done
through the cost effective, environment friendly and faster coastal shipping
The meeting of the Working Group is a follow up of the BIMSTEC leaders’
call at the Retreat hosted by Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi in Goa in
October 2016, to enhance connectivity in the region.
India is the lead country in BIMSTEC for cooperation in transport and
communication. Other BIMSTEC member countries include Bangladesh, Bhutan,
Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand and Nepal.
The Ministry of Shipping, Govt of India was represented by Director