The development of BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) countries is “indispensible for the forward march of Asia as a whole,” Prime Minister Manmohan Singh has said.

Dr. Singh made the observation in a statement on Monday before leaving for Myanmar to attend the third summit of BIMSTEC.

He hoped that the summit — as well as the near-completion of work on creating supportive structures such as a Secretariat and appointment of the Secretary General — would enable BIMSTEC to play a more active role in regional integration and cooperation.

The Prime Minister was optimistic about BIMSTEC’s future.

The grouping had steadily established legal instruments for regional approaches to international terrorism, transnational crime, drug-trafficking and mutual legal assistance in criminal matters, “the need for which is more salient in today’s integrated world than ever before,” he said.

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