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“BIMSTEC Secretary General Indra Mani Pandey Undertakes Official Visit to Sri Lanka”

Indra Mani Pandey, the Secretary General of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC), recently conducted an official visit to Sri Lanka. This marked his first official visit to the country since assuming the role of Secretary General on January 4 of this year.

During his visit, Pandey met with several key figures including Ranil Wickremesinghe, the President of Sri Lanka, M.U.M. Ali Sabry, PC., MP., the Minister of Foreign Affairs of Sri Lanka, and Ramesh Pathirana, the Minister of Health of Sri Lanka, as announced by the BIMSTEC headquarters on Monday.

Additionally, he held discussions with prominent Sri Lankan officials such as Aruni Wijewardane, Secretary to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs; Anura Dissanayake, Secretary to the Prime Minister; Dr. Palitha Maheepala, Secretary to the Ministry of Health; and Thilaka Jayasundara, Secretary to the Ministry of Education.

During his meeting with President Wickremesinghe, the Secretary General provided an update on the progress within BIMSTEC since the 5th Summit held in Colombo in March 2022, and outlined expectations for the upcoming 6th Summit in Bangkok. President Wickremesinghe reaffirmed Sri Lanka’s commitment to BIMSTEC and shared the country’s priorities for regional cooperation.

Foreign Minister Ali Sabry highlighted the significance of regular meetings at all levels within BIMSTEC, emphasizing their role in sustaining momentum and ensuring the success of regional cooperation.

Discussions with Secretary to the Prime Minister, Anura Dissanayake, focused on Sri Lanka’s role as the lead member State in BIMSTEC for Human Resource Development. They explored avenues to advance the BIMSTEC Human Resource Development agenda, including scheduling the inaugural meeting of the BIMSTEC Expert Group on Human Resource Development.

Meetings with the Minister of Health and the Secretary to the Ministry of Health centered on advancing the BIMSTEC Health agenda, with Sri Lanka leading cooperation efforts in this domain. This included plans for convening the first meeting of BIMSTEC Health Ministers.

Engagements with the Secretary to the Ministry of Education revolved around establishing the BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility in Sri Lanka, as agreed upon during the 5th BIMSTEC Summit in Colombo in 2022, and organizing the inaugural meeting of its Governing Board.

In addition to official meetings, Pandey participated in public events organized by various institutes, allowing him to interact with a diverse range of individuals including officials, experts, academics, and students. These engagements provided an opportunity to discuss regional cooperation through BIMSTEC in the Bay of Bengal Region.

Pandey also engaged with the media in Sri Lanka, including a TV interview on the program ‘At Hyde Park’ on Ada Derana.

Source: UNB

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