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Fourth BIMSTEC Summit kicks off in Kathmandu

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KATHMANDU — The fourth summit of Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) has begun in Kathmandu on Thursday.

Nepal’s Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli, the Chairperson of the summit, has inaugurated the session as the head of government of the host nation.

Prime Minister of Bangladesh Sheikh Hasina Wazed, Chief Justice of Bhutan Tshering Wangchuk who is also the Chief Advisor to the intertim government of Bhutan, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi, President of Myanmar Win Myint, President of Sri Lanka Maithripala Sirisena and Prime Minister of Thailand Prayut Chan-o-Cha are attending the summit.

During the inaugural session speech, the heads of state and the government of the seven-nation regional grouping reiterated the need for enhancing connectivity within the member states.

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The leaders, addressing a formal session at an event in Hotel Soaltee Crowne Plaza, emphasized the importance of exploring multiple avenues of connectivity, ranging from physical to digital platforms.

Prime Minister Oli, in his 27-minutes long speech, emphasized on BIMSTEC as a unique platform that connects the countries from South Asia with South-East Asia.

Oli said the regional institution is an idea that deeper integration can unleash the economic dynamism and address the development needs of countries and people . He said BIMSTEC is a medium to accelerate social progress and promote collaboration and partnership.

The Prime Minister further said that an early conclusion of the agreements on trade in goods, trade in services, investment, mutual assistance in customs matters, dispute settlement and trade facilitation is the need of hour to enable BIMSTEC to effectively move forward.

Likewise, Prime Minister Narendra Modi of India said that his country is committed to connecting its national knowledge network with Nepal, Bangladesh, and Bhutan through the medium of digital connectivity.

Mr Modi highlighted connectivity as the biggest opportunity for BIMSTEC nations and stressed on the need for focusing on the connectivity of trade and economy, transportation, digital connectivity and people-to-people connectivity.

Bangladeshi Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina said that the prosperity of the BIMSTEC member states is only possible through reforms in politics and economic development.

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Similarly, Tshering Wangchuk, the Chief Advisor of the Interim Government of Bhutan,underscoring climate change as a common challenge of the region, called on the member states to fight against climate change and its adverse effect.

Prayut Chan-ocha, the prime minister of Thailand, said connectivity is the forefront of the nation’s core national policy, proposed two areas of collaboration: transport connectivity and maritime connectivity.

The summit attended by top-dignitaries of seven member-states will focus on connectivity, poverty alleviation, trade, investment, tourism, climate change and security

The summit will also witness the signing of a Memorandum of Understanding for the Establishment of the BIMSTEC Grid Interconnections, paving the way for trade in energy among member states.

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176 trafficked Nepalis rescued from Indo-Myanmar border

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KATHMANDU — At least 176 Nepali men and women, who were being trafficked into Myanmar, have been rescued by Manipur police and activists from different parts of Manipur, a northeastern state of India, in the last two days.

On their second day of rescue operation, the Tengnoupal police have rescued atleast 20 Nepalis including 5 women and 15 men, from a Hotel in Moreh town,Imphal Free Press, an English-language daily published from Manipur has reported.

The Moreh police have rescued as many as 60 nationals of Nepal including 45 women and 15 men.

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Earlier, over 105 Nepali women were rescued from Moreh and Imphal, the report stated.

The police team have also arrested the main suspect in the trafficking case identified as Madan Kumar Kharel, 52, Hailing from 07 Prithvinagar, Jhapa, Nepal.

The accused is reportedly responsible for bringing 20 of the 40 Nepali girls who were rescued from Moreh on Friday.

Meanwhile, Police also rescued 51 Nepalis from Imphal including 38 women and 13 men during Saturday rescue operations.

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