Why in news : Due to the ineffectiveness of the SAARC, recently we shifted our focus towards BIMSTEC.

More about the news :

  • As the SAARC has been failed in most of its objectives. This led SOUTH ASIA state of affairs in poor state. South Asia continues to be extremely poor and least integrated region in the world.
  • Intra-regional trade and investment between south Asian countries remains to be extremely low when compared to other regions such as ASEAN and sub-saharan Africa.
  • Pakistan continues to be a constant obstructor within SAARC by blocking several vital initiatives such as Motor vehicles agreement.
  • Since 2014, no SAARC summit has taken place leaving organistation stalled and practically dead.


  • The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation(BIMSTEC) is an international organisation of seven South Asian and Southeast Asian.
  • The BIMSTEC member states are Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, and Thailand are among the countries dependent on the Bay of Bengal.
  • This sub-regional organization came into being in 1997 through the Bangkok Declaration.
  • There are 16 main sectors of BIMSTEC along technological and economic cooperation among South Asian and Southeast Asian countries along the coast of the Bay of Bengal.
  • Trade & Investment
  • Transport & Communication
  • Energy
  • Tourism
  • Technology
  • Fisheries
  • Agriculture
  • Public Health
  • Poverty Alleviation
  • Counter-Terrorism & Transnational Crime
  • Environment & Disaster Management
  • People-to-People Contact
  • Cultural Cooperation
  • Climate Change
  • Important Connectivity Projects under BIMSTEC :
    • Kaladan Multimodal Project which links India and Myanmar.

    • Asian Trilateral Highway – connecting India and Thailand through Myanmar.

    • Bangladesh-Bhutan-India-Nepal (BBIN) Motor Vehicles Agreement – for seamless flow of passenger and cargo traffic.
      • This agreement was recently signed but Bhutan didn’t yet officially signed it due to environmental concerns.


  • The South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) is the regional intergovernmental organization and geopolitical union of states in South Asia.
  • Its member states are Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Maldives, Nepal, Pakistan, and Sri Lanka.
  • SAARC launched the South Asian Free Trade Area (SAFTA) in 2006.

Syllabus : Prelims + Mains; GS2-International Relations