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Nepali PM rakes up militancy at BIMSTEC inaugural

STORY: Militancy continues to be the latest threat to peace, democracy and development, said Nepali Prime Minister, Sher Bahadur Deuba, on Thursday (August 10).

Deuba was speaking at the inauguration of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) ministerial meet in Kathmandu.

A sub regional group, BIMSTEC comprises of Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Nepal, Sri Lanka, Myanmar and Thailand. Nepal is the current chair of BIMSTEC.

Condemning militancy in all its forms and manifestations, Deuba said extremism can’t be justified on any ground.

The two-day ministerial meet is aimed at finalising a free trade agreement among BIMSTEC members, including market access for professionals and reducing the duty on trading goods. Trade, investments and connectivity are also expected to figure in the talks.

Established in 1997, BIMSTEC consists of 1.5 billion people and has a combined GDP of $2.5 trillion.

India is represented by foreign minister Sushma Swaraj at the regional grouping’s meet.

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