Prof Hall for effective planning to strengthen Bimstec

DHAKA : Visiting veteran historian Prof Dr Kenneth R Hall has said there is a need for proper planning and consensus to strengthen the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) turning it into a successful regional block, reports UNB.
“Some degree of plan, cooperation and consensus is needed to take place,” he told UNB after delivering a lecture at the Bimstec Secretariat in the city on Sunday.
Bimstec is an international organisation involving a group of countries in South Asia and South East Asia. These are Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.
Hall, a professor of history, Ball State University, USA, laid emphasis on identifying the ‘problems’ to strengthen the cooperation among Bimstec member states.
He also said those problems need to be addressed taking into consideration issues like ‘multiculturalism’ and ‘multi-ethnicity’.
Focusing on addressing the infrastructural need, Prof Hall, who did his PhD in 1975, said, “Work out a plan to deal with the infrastructure problems.”
Asked whether Bangladesh can play a role like Singapore played in Asean (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), the expert said, “Can be done.”
Since its independence in 1965, Singapore has gone through an immense transformation and it plays a central role within Asean as one of five founding nations.
Prof Hall said he has seen a lot of progress in Bangladesh in recent years and mentioned that things are ‘progressing’ right now.
He suggested that Bangladesh can follow Singapore and can replicate some of their ‘institutional development’ for further development in Bangladesh. “First of all you need to have quality education system. You also need commitment for that.”
Earlier in his lecture, the expert touched upon all the aspects of Bimstec describing both potentials and challenges.
The Bimstec Secretariat hosted the first ‘Foundation Lecture-2016’ on ‘The Importance of Documenting Pre-1500 Bay of Bengal Regional Integrations and Contested Agencies Relative to the Present.’
The Foundation Lecture is an initiative by the Secretariat in its efforts to promote people-to-people contact.
Prime Minister’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Dr Gowher Rizvi who attended the lecture as the chief guest.
Bimstec Secretary General Sumith Nakandala, current and former diplomats, Bimstec Director SM Nazmul Hasan were also present.
Sumith Nakandala said the Bimstec Secretariat will regularly arrange such lectures in the days to come.