The second meeting of the BIMSTEC National Security Chiefs will be held in Dhaka next week, the Indian High Commissioner says.

Harsh Vardhan Shringla said this meeting would “deepen” the cooperation in the security domain including maritime security.

Speaking at a conference marking the 20th anniversary of BIMSTEC on Tuesday, he said to achieve the desired regional cooperation, it is essential to have peace and security in the region.

Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand are the members of BIMSTEC that connect South Asia with Southeast Asia.

“Terrorism remains the single largest threat to peace and stability in the region,” the High Commissioner said.

“At a time when strategies of terrorists are evolving rapidly and their networks are getting stronger, transcending even the geographical boundaries, it is imperative that countries facing threat must respond cohesively,” he said.

“Efforts are being taken to tackle traditional and non-traditional security challenges confronted by the region”.

The first meeting of the national security chiefs was held a year ago in New Delhi.

The meeting noted that BIMSTEC member 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”.

The meeting underscored the importance of recognising the Bay of Bengal as common security space and agreed to work out collective strategies for common responses.

‘Think out of the box’

Senior Fellow of Observer Research Foundation Joyeeta Bhattacharjee, speaking on the developing of Bay of Bengal region as a common security space, said the Bay of Bengal is a common space and “we have to think out of the box to take the cooperation forward”.

“It is an opportunity. We should utilize our best for the upliftment and betterment of the people and security is an important aspect.”

She, however, said instead of reinvesting in something new, BIMSTEC should take stock of the situation and initiative that “we have done and take those initiatives forward”.

She termed the first security chiefs meet held last year as one of the best development of BIMSTEC and said, that meeting adopted an “important” document as it includes both traditional and non-traditional security challenges.

“We have to recognise that these are common challenges and we have to work together for the economic development and human security of the region”.

Defence and Security Advisor to the Prime Minister Major General (Rtd.) Tarique Ahmed Siddique will represent Bangladesh while National Security Adviser Ajit Doval will represent India.

The meeting is expected to be held on March 29.

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