Kathmandu, December 4, 2017- The Asian Institute of Diplomacy and International Affairs (AIDIA) and Embassy of the People’s Republic of Bangladesh, Nepal jointly hosted the Round Table Meeting on “Prospects and Challenges on Nepal-India-Bangladesh Trilateral Co-operation” in Kathmandu, Nepal.
The major objectives of the program was to discuss the prospects and challenges of economic cooperation amidst Nepal-India-Bangladesh and recommend the policy priority to all respective governments to promote mutually inclusive economic benefits.
Dr. Gowher Rizvi, International Affairs Adviser to the Prime Minister of Bangladesh, delivered the keynote speech. Dr. Rizvi talked about ‘ignored proximity’ by the member states and stressed on promoting commonalities as the first step towards trilateral and regional cooperation. Dr. Rizvi also acknowledged that as a major economic giant of the region India should play the important role to give the real impetus for the trilateral and regional co-operation.
Dr. Rizvi noted poverty and scarcity of water as the two common problems of South Asia and emphasized on sub-regional cooperation. He further focused on energy cooperation, and added problem of adequate energy is the major impediments of inclusive economic growth of the region. In order to take the optimum advantage of our proximity, connectivity should be the central part of our effort, Dr, Rizvi said. Dr. Rizvi is optimistic that with the improvement in political connectivity, infrastructure connectivity is sure to increase.
He also talked about the need of exploring Mongla and Chittagong port, as Bangladesh has already provided Nepal to use those port facilities. Moreover, he also talked about promoting spiritual tourism and importance of cooperation in the area like climate change. Most importantly, Dr. Rizvi expressed the need of ‘high-level well prepared dialogue’ between Bangladesh-India-Nepal and said he will take this idea to Dhaka.
In special remarks, Mr. Chandra Kumar Ghimire, Secretary, Ministry of Commerce, Nepal, while agreeing on most of the area touched by Dr. Rizvi, stressed connectivity should be prioritized to promote cross-border economic activities. Mr. Ghimire emphasized, on the importance of mobilizing total strength and he said ‘word should not be limited in document’ – together need to act for the concrete action.
During the meeting, representative from different diplomatic missions, policy experts, academician, business persons, government authorities, media persons among other concern stakeholders actively participated in the discussion.
In the meeting, H.E. Ms. Mashfee Binte Shams Ambassador of Bangladesh to Nepal delivered the welcome remarks. In closing remarks, the CEO of AIDIA, Mr. Sunil KC, expressed his gratitude to the distinguished speakers and guest and said that respective government should seriously engage in the promotion of trilateral cooperation and promised to continue such forum for healthy discourse aiming to contribute mutuallly beneficial relations.