BIMSTEC secretary general M Shahidul Islam says the Bay of Bengal regional grouping should focus on disaster management on a priority basis.
“Our member nations face challenges from regular cyclones, earthquakes and floods,” Islam said at the inaugural ceremony of the Kolkata Colloquium of the Observer Research Foundation entitled Reimagining BIMSTEC.
“India, Myanmar, Bangladesh, we all face cyclones in the Bay of Bengal, floods, and all, so it would be great to have a trans-regional disaster management structure,” he added.
“Cyclones don’t recognise national boundaries, neither do floods, so such problems are better tackled on a regional basis,” he said.
Speaking on a colloquium case, Mizzima chief editor Soe Myint said BIMSTEC would focus on issues such as physical connectivity and the creation of communications between citizens.
“It is no good opening new roads, ports, or airports if visa regimes are not eased if tourists are not encouraged because they are viewed with suspicion,” said Soe Myint.
He said if Myanmar was giving visa on arrival to Indians, India should reciprocate.
“That will help our people living in states closer to the Indian border to come to India for medical treatment or Buddhist pilgrimage,” said Soe Myint.