The BIMSTEC Conference in Kolkata on Sunday proposed the formation of ‘BIMSTEC Games’ in the likes of Commonwealth Games, and set up a university where students from the seven member-states can attain higher education.
Speaking at the meet, Prof. JigmeNidup, Assistant Professor, NorbulingRigter College, Royal University of Bhutan, said connectivity of education, though BIMSTEC, will ensure success along neighboring regions.
“Bringing up BIMSTEC university is something we can think of as a long-term plan,” Prof Nidup said.
“Recruiting professors, lectures from different neighboring countries will come as a big help and boost the initiative. This can help bring up a joint collaboration and research project between neighboring countries.”
Talking about sport as ‘soft power’, ArindamBasu, Former Sports Journalist and Senior Faculty Sister Nivedita University, said: “The need of the hour was the formation of a common sports policy; regular sporting exchanges; holding each other develop sports; include sports as an important subject of nation building and create a new sporting frontier for the world to see—like a BIMSTEC Games.”
He said there are five reasons to sporticization of diplomacy.
“Sports are central to our hobbies in a modern society and are considered entertaining, enjoyable, peaceful yet passionate. Sports have become an instrument of identity for race and culture. Sports and modern politics are great subjects. A lot of times, they are mixed together for the reason of state, to serve a cause, good or bad. Finally, globalisation and the mass media have accelerated this influence of sports through the creation of global ambassadors,” he said.
Dr. George Cooke, Diplomatic Historian & Strategist Head of Awarelogue Initiative, Sri Lanka, said: "It is very important to bring integration among the neighboring states. Building awareness is important to this group forward. We also need to make people aware and know about BIMSTEC. We must also aim to include youth in the conclave of the organisation in all key areas of BIMSTEC. Their voices need to be heard. Also, building a research network in BIMSTEC is important.”
Dr. NarutCharoensri, Deputy Dean of Research Affairs, Faculty of Political Science and Public Administration, Chiang Mai University, Thailand, said that awareness and political knowledge was essential for BIMSTEC’s reach.
“In order to increase the visibility and increase people to people connectivity we might encourage and enhance higher education and collaboration between universities and I really like the idea of the State University and in that case, we can actually learn from the experience of ASEAN of the regional higher education exchange that could be contributed to what we can do in strengthening in the university.”
BIMSTEC, established in June 1997, was then known as BIST-EC and named after its founding member states of Bangladesh, India, Sri Lanka and Thailand. The EC stood for Economic Cooperation. In December 1997, Myanmar joined the organisation thus extending the acronym to BIMSTEC.
Further by February 2004, Nepal and Bhutan were extended full membership. The headquarters of BIMSTEC was inaugurated by Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina in 2014 in Dhaka.