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BIMSTEC Summit in Nepal: Narendra Modi to attend two-day meet, will inaugurate dharmashala at Pashupatinath

Prime Minister Narendra Modi will attend the (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) BIMSTEC Summit in Nepal on 30-31 August. It is the fourth BIMSTEC Summit whose theme is 'Towards a peaceful, prosperous and sustainable Bay of Bengal region'.Modi said on Wednesday that his participation in the BIMSTEC summit in Kathmandu signals India's highest priority to its neighbourhood and a strong commitment to continue deepening ties with the "extended neighbourhood" in South-East Asia. In a statement before leaving for Nepal, Modi said he will interact with the leaders of Bangladesh, Bhutan, Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand on the margins of the summit. "I also look forward to meeting Prime Minister of Nepal KP Sharma Oli and reviewing the progress we have made in our bilateral ties since my last visit to Nepal in May 2018," he said. Modi said he and Oli will inaugurate the Nepal Bharat Maitri Dharmashala at the Pashupatinath temple complex. "My participation in the summit symbolises India's highest priority to our neighbourhood and our strong commitment to continue deepening our relationship with the extended neighbourhood in South-East Asia," he said.He said he will interact with all the leaders of BIMSTEC "to further enrich our regional cooperation, enhance our trade ties and advance our collective efforts to build a peaceful and prosperous Bay of Bengal region". The Summit theme, the PM said,will enable the member-countries to shape a collective response to their common aspirations and challenges. "I am confident that the 4th BISMTEC summit will further consolidate the progress made thus far under BIMSTEC, and will chart the course for building a peaceful and prosperous Bay of Bengal Region," Modi said in his statement.Meanwhile, Nepal prime minister KP Sharma Oli said that the upcoming summit would be helpful in achieving sustainable development through poverty alleviation, facing climate change challenges and expanding road connectivity among member states. "The Summit will be very much fruitful in facing challenges posed by global warming, achieve sustainable development goals, and expanding connectivity to ease movement among the people of BIMSTEC-member states and enhance cooperation," Oli told the Parliament. "Economic prosperity of the people of this region, expansion of road network and construction of Buddhist Circuit will mainly figure during the summit," he said while briefing the lawmakers about the upcoming summit.The BIMSTEC is a regional grouping comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The first BIMSTEC summit was held in Thailand in 1997, second in 2008 in India and third in 2014 in Myanmar. Nepal has assumed the chairmanship of BIMSTEC since 2014. The grouping accounts for 22 percent of the global population, and has a combined gross domestic product of $2.8 trillion.Though BIMSTEC has 14 priority sectors, the summit has integrated two more priority sectors - Blue Economy and Mountain Economy, Oli said. "BIMSTEC should not be a mere group of nations, rather it should serve as an effective organisation for enhancing regional cooperation and prosperity," he said..