Prime Minister Narendra Modi arrived here today to attend the 4th BIMSTEC Summit on the sidelines of which he will hold bilateral meetings with regional leaders, including Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena and Bangladeshi Premier Sheikh Hasina. Modi was warmly received by Ishwar Pokhrel, Deputy Prime Minister and Defence Minister of Nepal, on his arrival at the airport here. He was accorded a red carpet welcome.
Modi said yesterday that his participation in the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) summit in Kathmandu signals India’s highest priority to its neighbourhood and a strong commitment to continue deepening ties with the “extended neighbourhood” in South-East Asia.
In a statement before leaving for Nepal for the two-day summit, Modi said he will interact with the leaders of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand on the margins of the summit whose theme is ‘Towards a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal region’.He is scheduled to meet Sirisena and Hasina today.
“I also look forward to meeting Prime Minister of Nepal KP Sharma Oli and reviewing the progress we have made in our bilateral ties since my last visit to Nepal in May 2018,” he said. Modi said he and Oli will inaugurate the Nepal Bharat Maitri Dharmashala at the Pashupatinath temple complex. The Summit’s theme, Modi said, will enable the member-countries to shape a collective response to their common aspirations and challenges. The BIMSTEC is a regional grouping comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The grouping accounts for 22 per cent of the global population.
The summit is taking place amidst tight security. The government of Nepal has mobilised some 17,000 security personnel for the summit. The government has introduced odd and even number of vehicles to ply on the road for easing traffic effective from August 29 to 31. Educational institutions will remain closed for three days starting from August 29 keeping in view the traffic problem. The government has not allowed media persons, except a few belonging to the state-run Nepal Television, at the main summit venue.