Do you think that BIMSTEC is a parallel organisation like the SAARC? What are the similarities and dissimilarities between the two? How are Indian Foreign Policy objectives realised by forming this new organisation? (250 words) [2022]

BIMSTEC, or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation, is a regional organization comprising seven countries in South and Southeast Asia: Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Thailand, and Bhutan. BIMSTEC was established in 1997 as an alternative to the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (SAARC), which had been experiencing difficulties in achieving its objectives.

There are both similarities and differences between BIMSTEC and SAARC. Both organizations are regional forums that aim to promote cooperation and collaboration among their member countries in a range of sectors, including trade, economic development, and cultural exchange. However, there are some key differences between the two organizations.

One difference is the geographical focus of the two organizations. SAARC is focused on South Asia, while BIMSTEC includes countries from both South and Southeast Asia. This means that BIMSTEC has a wider geographical scope and includes a greater diversity of countries.

Another difference is the membership of the two organizations. SAARC includes Afghanistan, Pakistan, and the Maldives, which are not part of BIMSTEC. BIMSTEC also includes Bhutan, which is not a member of SAARC.

In terms of Indian foreign policy objectives, BIMSTEC provides a platform for India to engage with its neighbors and promote regional cooperation in South and Southeast Asia. This can help to enhance India’s economic and strategic interests in the region and contribute to regional stability and prosperity.

Overall, while BIMSTEC and SAARC have some similarities, they are distinct regional organizations with different membership and geographical focus. BIMSTEC provides a forum for India to pursue its foreign policy objectives in South and Southeast Asia and to promote regional cooperation and collaboration in the region.

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