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A Paradigm Shift from SAARC To BIMSTECH Nations

  • Akshay Rane
  • June 12, 2019
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As I Pen down to write an Article, after a while, Firstly I would like to tender my sincerest Congratulations to our PM Modi for having been Re-Elected as Nations PM, On 23rd of May 2019 in 16th Lok Sabha Election of world’s largest Democracy, in India. Thus, Nation witnessed How Honest Intent wins over, How Politics of Performance wins Politics of Hypocrisy, How Pro-Vikas Agendas instituted & Implemented for 132Cr.Indians over Sloganeering since last two decades. This shows that people of India are with the Leadership who undertakes bold & Structural Reforms, for last five years, for his Bold & Decisiveness, which was lacking in India, for these many years. Indeed, Nation is proud of You, PM for Re-Scripting Vikas & Parivartan Yatra for People of India.

Before I Put My thoughts to you all, I would like to Quote A Phrase from Swami Vivekananda, Focus is Key to success. When we align ourselves with our values & live in accordance with our Truth, we have the ability to achieve success. Visualising our specific goals is a critical part to the Process. Become clear &Focussed in what it is you wish to achieve, & commit yourself to its Pursuit.

In this Article, I am going to give you all in a detailed manner, how there is a Paradigm shift made from SAARC Nations to BIMSTEC Nations?

Our PM Modi is only the second Foreign Head of the State or Government to Address the People’s Majllis in its 86th year History. Coming Hard on State Sponsorship of Terror our PM Modi called it as a huge Challenge which is indeed a danger for the entire humanity & requested the International community to host a Global conference to tackle terror. He also said “There is not a single day when terrorist does not kill Innocents. The Main Agenda is to discuss Terror, Climate change & Indo-Pacific were the three key issues Indian PM Modi talked about during his Address to the Maldivian Parliament.

Let me give you all a brief Note on The Maldives—officially the Republic of Maldives, is a country in South Asia, located in the Arabian Sea, of the Indian ocean. The History of Maldives is Intertwined with the history of broader Indian sub-continent & the surrounding regions, which comprises the areas of South Asia & Indian Ocean. Historically Maldives had a Strategic importance of its location on the major marine routes of the Indian Ocean. The Maldives nearest neighbours are Sri Lanka & India, both of which have had cultural & Economic ties with Maldives for centuries. The Maldives were influenced by Kalinga’s of ancient India who were earliest sea traders to Sri Lanka & Maldives from India & were responsible for the spread of Buddhism. Hence ancient Hindu culture has an Indelible impact on Maldives culture.

The Significance of Maldives Visit:

PM Modi reiterated the support to Maldives from Indian side, especially coming hard on State sponsorship of Terror, PM called it as a huge challenge which is indeed dangerous for entire human race & he urged with the International community to rise up to the occasion & simultaneously host a Global Conference on Terror. PM Modi also opined “There is not a single day when terrorists does not kill innocents”. Though terrorists don’t have their own finances, & ammunition factories, yet they never have a lack of ammunition. Who helps them with these ammunitions? This is a pity that people still try to differentiate between good & bad terrorists.  PM also stressed on Climate Change “not a myth”. PM also said “Drying Rivers, & erratic weather is impacting farmers & rising water levels is threatening countries like Maldives. India has always supported Maldives on Climate Change, & has also provided 2500 LED lights to the capital Male. Without naming Pakistan, PM also stressed the fact “the water is rising above the head. Combating Terrorism& radicalisation is the most accurate test of leadership in the world”. PM also lauded speaker of Maldivian Parliament Mohammed Nasheed, who as the President held the first Cabinet meeting underwater to highlight the challenges of climate Change PM said, “The Maldives has taken a number of initiatives for sustainable development”. The Focus was also laid on Indo-Pacific with PM saying there are a number of unresolved disputes in that region. PM also called for “Free & Open Indo-Pacific”.” India will not only use its strength to strengthen its own nation but also its neighbours & their bright future.” PM also stressed the fact that “Maldives will be great partner for India’s vision for Indo-Pacific as both are neighbours & Friends”.

The Speaker of Maldives Parliament also gifted Pm Modi with the 1st copy of Maldivian constitution as a token of “India’s Defence towards Maldives”. This is great to know that this is the 11th time Pm Modi addressed a Parliament of 10 countries. In the past he addressed the Parliaments of Bhutan, Nepal, Australia, Fiji, Mauritius, Sri Lanka, Mongolia, Afghanistan, US & Uganda.

A Brief Note on the Importance of BIMSTEC NATIONS;

I would also like to bring to your notice that the presence of BIMSTEC Nations at the swearing-in-ceremony conveyed a very strong message indeed, it signalled at the fact that a stable & secure neighbourhood will be a priority of the country’s foreign policy. BIMSTEC or the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-sectoral trade & Economic Co-operation was established in 1997. However, it was only since the BRICS-BIMSTEC summit in 2016, that the Regional bloc gained renewed importance, in India’s foreign policy discourse. The Latest Diplomatic outreach was not the first time, when heads of a regional organization were invited to an occasion of National importance. In 201, PM Modi had achieved a Diplomatic feat by asking all the b Heads of the SAARC Nations for his Swearing-in-ceremony. It was very remarkable to note that leaders from all the Seven countries, including the then PM Nawaz Sharif, accepted to attend the occasion. The Government also invited the heads of all Ten ASEAN Nations as Guests of Honour for India’s Republic Day Celebrations, in 2018. With this, New Delhi Sought to demonstrate its commitment to the “Act East Policy”, which was driven by Co-operation on 3Cs—Commerce, Culture & Connectivity.

An Invitation to the Heads of BIMSTEC COUNTRIES, sets the tone for India’s Foreign Policy Priorities. Firstly, BIMSTEC links two regions as it brings the Economies of India, Nepal, Bhutan, Bangladesh, & Sri Lanka in South Asia & those of Myanmar & Thailand in Southeast Asia. It also simultaneously, links the Agenda of two major Foreign Policies of the BJP-led Government.” Neighbourhood First”. & “Act East”. Therefore, by inviting the heads of Government of BIMSTEC NATIONS, New Delhi conveyed its commitment to pursue the two foreign Policies in Tandem., thereby maximising efforts towards Regional stability & Security. Secondly BIMSTEC provides New Delhi a very much reliable Platform to enhance multilateral co-operation that can strengthen regional connectivity. It can also drive a mutually beneficial & also sustainable developmental agenda across the 14 focus areas are Trade, Technology, Transport, Tourism, People-to-People Connect & Blue Economy. A Strong Regional network in this part of the world would benefit as many as 22% of the world’s population, whose combine GDP currently stands at about $2.7trillion. Thirdly, the latest Invitation reaffirmed the Government’s Strategic Focus on the Indo-Pacific & the critical role the Bay of Bengal plays in India’s Maritime policy. The Geostrategic Position of the Bay of Bengal put it at the crossroads of the Indian Ocean & the Pacific Ocean & also close Proximity to one of the busiest Trade Conduits—Strait of Malacca. The Region also witnesses increasing Chinese Naval & Commercial Presence, which has been accelerated under the ambit of Belt & Road Initiative (BRI). The BRI has been endorsed by all the BIMSTEC Members barring Bhutan & India. Thus, what I feel is that a Constant & Renewed focus on BIMSTEC can also serve as bulwark against Chinese expansion in that particular region. It can help establish a Strong Regional Architecture, & also improve Maritime Co-operation & Economic Growth.

Why did PM Modi’s decision to select Maldives for his first International Visit as soon as he took over in the Second Term?

Let Me Explain to you all with an important fact that the continued warmth in India-Afghanistan relations, is itself an illustration of the Government’s ongoing focus on South Asian solidarity, with or without Pakistan.  So therefore, the biggest reason of our PM Modi’s latest outreach to BIMSTEC countries is largely a continuation of Emphasis on Neighbourhood’s Policy which was integral to his foreign policy in his 1st term.  Now I Feel that apart from Diplomatic initiative, stress should be on the Future course of Action that can help realise the full Potential, both Economic, & Geostrategic of the regional groups.

PM Modi’s Sri Lanka Visit & its significance:

PM Modi met on 9th June 2019, with Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena & the two leaders discussed bilateral issues of mutual interest, Indian PM is the 1st Foreign Leader to Visit the Island Post Easter Bombings which more than 250 people were killed. His visit is also considered as a sign of India’s affirmation of Solidarity with Sri Lanka in the aftermath of such dastardly Easter Terror attack in April.  Both PM & President pf Sri Lanka discussed bilateral issues of mutual interest.  A Banquet was hosted in honour of PM Modi by President @Maithripala’s #NeighbourhoodFirstPolicy. PM Modi was accorded a ceremonial reception at the President’s house, Sri Lankan President SiriSena was seen holding an umbrella & Providing cover to himself & PM Modi from rain. PM also visited duly a Catholic Church-one of the sites, of the dastardly Easter Sunday Attacks—soon after he arrived at Sri Lanka, thereby paid his tributes to the victims of the deadly terror strikes. PM Modi Said” Cowardly Acts of Terror cannot defeat the spirit of Sri Lanka”. PM Modi’s entourage made a detour to St. Anthony’s Church on their way to the Presidential Secretariat.

PM Modi also said “Iam Confident that SriLanka will rise again. Cowardly acts of terror cannot defeat the spirit of Sri Lanka. India stands in solidarity with the people of Sri Lanka,” opined by PM Modi, the first foreign leader to visit Sri Lanka after the Easter Attacks in April.

PM Modi after having arrived in Colombo, from Maldives where he held wide ranging talks with Maldivian President.

Key Takeaways of Silence Visit by PM Modi

India’s support by visiting St. Anthony’s Church Victims by our PM Modi straight from the Airport, & thereby paying his tributes, A signal from PM For neighbourhood First Policy, A Signal of Solidarity & International Peace, India doesn’t believe in Civil war at all, thereby Sri Lankan President clearly stating the fact that People can visit to Sri Lanka & will rely on India. This will keep Chinese Expansion along the lines of BRI. The Phone Numbers of 5 Sri Lankan who were declared as suspects shared by NIA to Sri Lankan Government. Sri Lanka realizes that they ignored the Intelligence Inputs duly given by NIA which are of highest Priority, now Sri Lanka will be highly dependent on Intelligence Sharing with Neighbourhoods Security, therefore it becomes very important Neighbours take India’s Intelligence Input on Serious Note. The Chinese were trying to manoeuvre, & so does Pakistan, Now Sri Lanka realises the Honest Intent of India’s Neighbourhood Policy of development, Counter Terrorism Measures, & Regional Co-operation. Tackling Terror is a Key Agenda Point, PM Visit affirms commitment to Male, Colombo. A Strong Message given by our Leadership is that there is a need for Collective Efforts needed to Counter Terrorism effectively. PM’s Visit to Sri Lanka is past of India’s neighbours. From Neighbourhood-first to Buddhism policy -India& Sri Lanka- Fight against Terror, as PM stated the fact that Terrorism is a joint threat. PM Modi makes a case for Collective Co-operation on Anti-Terror measures. NIA lended huge support to Sri Lanka by sharing all suspects numbers, their hideouts, linkages, & they had been duly giving it in the past too, but was ignore due to some confusion.

As I come to conclusion of my in-depth analysis of my Article of Geo-Political Strategies of our PM Modi’s visit to Maldives & Sri Lanka.  PM Modi calls for a Global Coalition & thereby streamline his efforts to counter Terror Globally with Iron fist, this Global Pitch by our PM is a welcome move & welcomed across.PM Modi Re-election as PM of India once again reflects the Mandate of the people, also reflects the Aspirations of 132cr.Indians. PM Modi calls for a Global Conference on Terror, this shows that here is a leader who wants to show his solidarity with those countries who are affected with Terrorism & he will not spare any Terrorist & all out co-operation by India extended duly to those Terror affected Nations. As a citizen of Bharat, we are moving towards New India, a Path of Vikas & Parivartan duly scripted by our PM since 2014 & it continues…


A Rashtra without any Disparities, without any evil forces, but striving to achieve Balanced Regional Development across Indian States. A Rashtra which reiterates an important fact that “Terror & Talks Can’t go together” under an able Statesman, & Pradhan Sevak of Bharatvasis who is indeed a Karmayogi with Honest Intent Convictions clear.

Dr. Sukanya Iyer

Jai Hind

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