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Ours is a natural grouping of countries. We are bound by geography and linked by history. We share land and maritime boundaries. Our culture, religions and architecture bear eloquent testimony to our ancient bonds. Across the Bay of Bengal, the monsoon renews our lands while maritime trade nurtures our economies. We face many common challenges – from natural disasters to terrorism. At the same time, we also share many opportunities in the fields of trade, economic cooperation and connectivity, all of which presage a bright future for us.
In coming together, we are not only stepping out of narrow, traditional definitions of regions such as South Asia or Southeast Asia, but we are also building a bridge across Asia’s most promising and dynamic arc. Today, as connectivity and integration across a fragmented Asia are becoming the new vehicles for advancing peace and prosperity in the region, BIMSTEC is one of the more promising examples of such initiatives.