Modi shifts focus to little-known regional bloc in second innings

Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) and Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering heading for a Bimstec meeting in New Delhi on May 31.
Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (right) and Bhutan Prime Minister Lotay Tshering heading for a Bimstec meeting in New Delhi on May 31.PHOTO: EPA-EFE

Move to woo Bay of Bengal states comes as Pakistan issues linger

When Mr Narendra Modi was sworn in for his second term as India's prime minister on May 30, he chose to share the limelight in the courtyard of the regal presidential palace in New Delhi with leaders from a little-known multilateral grouping bearing an unwieldy name - the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, or Bimstec.

India's decision to grant high-profile focus to this bloc at the start of Mr Modi's second innings has prompted critical stocktaking of Bimstec, with many urging India to take the lead to transform the grouping from its under-developed and under-exploited status.

Please or to continue reading the full article. Learn more about ST PREMIUM.

Enjoy unlimited access to ST's best work

  • Exclusive stories and features on multiple devices
  • In-depth analyses and opinion pieces
  • ePaper and award-winning multimedia content
A version of this article appeared in the print edition of The Straits Times on June 10, 2019, with the headline 'Modi shifts focus to little-known regional bloc in second innings'. Print Edition | Subscribe