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House of Representatives endorses BIMSTEC Charter



Kathmandu, April 2: The House of Representatives (HoR) has endorsed the Charter of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).

A meeting of the lower house of the Federal Parliament today passed with majority support the proposal seeking endorsement of the BIMSTEC Charter, presented by Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs, Narayan Kaji Shrestha.

Replying queries came up during the discussions on the provisions of the BIMSTEC Charter in the HoR meeting, DPM and Foreign Affairs Minister Shrestha said the government was agreed to the ideas put forth by lawmakers regarding the necessity of BIMSTEC and endorsement of its Charter.

Stating that Nepal has been participating and playing a positive role in the multilateral and regional organisations, he reminded of Nepal’s involvement in multilateral world bodies like the United Nations Organisation as well.

“We have been making efforts towards rendering the regional organisations also affective through our participation. We show our participation and play our role in the forums where we see our nation’s interests align,” Minister Shrestha reiterated.

Sharing about the reality of not being able to make the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC) active, he expressed the commitment to adopting further initiatives to render it more effective.

“BIMSTEC is not the replacement of SAARC and it should not be. Nepal does not agree to the notion of moving ahead BIMSTEC at the cost of SAARC. We are for making the SAARC vibrant and will play an active role for that in the capacity of the SAARC Chair,” DPM and Foreign Affairs Minister said.

Informing the House that all the member nations, including Nepal, had signed the BIMSTEC Charter during the Fifth Summit of BIMSTEC held in 2022 in Sri Lanka, he mentioned about the Charter’s clear provisions that it will come into force only after its endorsement by parliament. “Information has been received that apart from Nepal six member countries have got the BIMSTEC Charter endorsed from their respective parliaments. There is the provision that the Charter will go into implementation 30 days after its endorsement by Nepal,” he said.

Taking part in the discussions on the provisions of the BIMSTEC Charter, lawmaker Dr Swornim Wagle of the Rastriya Swatantra Party hailed the endorsement of the Charter by Nepal’s parliament. He stated that the Preamble, objectives and principles of BIMSTEC were positive, saying there were no provisions in the Charter which undermined Nepal’s sovereignty.

“BIMSTEC is awakening only recently with the goal of forging regional collaboration on issues of economic prosperity. If we could take it forward by promoting and prospering it, it is bound to be to the benefit of Nepal,” he said.

CPN (UML) lawmaker Raghuji Panta said Nepal could take benefit from BIMSTEC on the technical, educational and research issues.

Stressing on the need of moving ahead keeping the national interest at supreme, he mentioned that the government should pay attention about the benefits Nepal can take from regional organisation.

Nepali Congress lawmaker Sita Mizar expressed the view that the government should take further efforts to take benefits from BIMSTEC.

Lawmakers—Bidya Bhattarai, Dipa Sharma, Ishwori Gharti, Sunita Baral, Eknath Dhakal, Manish Jha, Ganesh Parajuli, Sobita Gautam, Pradeep Yadav, Devendra Poudel, Madhav Sapkota, Narayani Sharma, Purna Bahadur Gharti Magar, Abdul Khan, Prem Suwal, Sonu Murmu, Binita Kumari Singh and Damodar Poudel ‘Bairagi’ had participated in the discussion on the proposal.

The Article 279 (1) of the Constitution of Nepal has the provision that the ratification of a treaty and agreement to which Nepal is to become a party shall be as provided for in the federal law.

Clause 4 of the Nepal Treaty Act 2027 has the provision that the Government and Council of Ministers has to table the charter at the Federal Parliament for the approval. As per the provision, the government tabled the BIMSTEC charter in the parliament for the approval.

BIMSTEC was formed in 1997 with an objective making regional coordination on the issues like economic prosperity, social progress, scientific achievement, peace, stability and connectivity. Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand are member of BIMSTEC. Nepal became the member of BIMSTEC in 2004. #Nepal