Asanga Abeyagoonasekera speaks at BIMSTEC workshop in Singapore

Thursday, 4 October 2018 01:14 -     - {{hitsCtrl.values.hits}}


Director General Asanga Abeyagoonasekera of the Institute of National Security Studies (INSSSL) speaks at the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) workshop at the National University Singapore (ISAS) on 24 September. The workshop themed ‘BIMSTEC at 20: Priorities and Prospects’ was organised by Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), Consortium of South Asian Think Tanks (COSATT) and Konrad Adenauer Stiftung (KAS). 

Among the distinguished speakers who attended the workshop was scholars from South Asian think tanks and Ambassadors including the Secretary General BIMSTEC Ambassador M. Shahidul Islam who delivered the keynote speech. The Secretary General emphasised the important role Sri Lanka could play as the present Chair. Director General Asanga Abeyagoonasekera during his speech highlighted three key areas Sri Lanka could contribute during its tenure holding the Chairmanship. 

Three areas include BIMSTEC development fund proposed by member-states should be established before the 5th Summit in Sri Lanka which will facilitate and strengthen economic cooperation among its member states to achieve short term tangible results. Second, on developing mechanisms for Counter Terrorism, combating Transnational Crime and Intelligence sharing. Finally, on strengthening Democracy, Rule of Law and strengthening the BIMSTEC secretariat. To instil rule of law he said, “BIMSTEC could stem the region’s creeping militarisation by instituting Bay of Bengal Zone of Peace just like the past Indian Ocean Zone for Peace initiated by late Prime Minister Sirimavo Bandaranayake to create a mechanism to limit unaccepted behaviour of extra regional powers, BIMSTEC is a natural platform through which to press its member states to develop the best practices and institutions required to ensure that the Bay of Bengal is governed cooperatively under the rule of law.”

He further said that Sri Lanka has got a golden opportunity as the Chair of BIMSTEC to lead and promote multilateralism in a least integrated region of the world, on India’s role in BIMSTEC as the regional power he quoted Former Indian Ambassador Rajiv Bhatia who identifies India’s leadership must be “exerted with a mix of sensitivity, generosity, astuteness and determination.”