President of Russia Vladimir Putin: Mr Prime Minister, colleagues,
Outreach meetings have become a good tradition. They expand the geography of BRICS ties and promote economic cooperation with various regional integration structures.
We are grateful to the Prime Minister of India [Narendra Modi] for the opportunity to discuss the prospects of partner relations between BRICS and the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC).
I would like to focus on the mutual linkage of regional integration projects that involve BRICS and BIMSTEC countries. Without a doubt, free trade zones, which are actively developing around the world, provide clear advantages to participants, with a greater flow of goods and capital, higher rates of economic development, and new jobs.
At the same time there are real risks that preferential and closed agreements could fragment and destabilise the global system of trade. This is why we strongly believe that regional integration processes should at all times be based on generally accepted standards, clear and transparent rules, supplementing, not substituting, the multilateral trade framework.
Russia is consistent in its efforts to promote bilateral trade and investment with Bay of Bengal countries. For example, Russia is proactively working with Bangladesh on peaceful nuclear energy power by implementing a major joint project to build the Ruppur Nuclear Power Plant.
The approaches used by BRICS and BIMSTEC are to a large extent in step with the international agenda. Our countries are committed to the principles of international law, condemn double standards, and stand for equal and indivisible security for all.
We are stepping up cooperation with Thailand on conventional energy. Russian companies are working with PTT, a Thai oil and gas company. There are also other examples of cooperation on major projects.
In Myanmar, Tyazhpromexport is completing construction of a major iron and steel plant using unique Russian technology. It is expected to open by the end of the year.
Russia and Sri Lanka established an intergovernmental commission on trade, economic, research and technical cooperation, and its first meeting took place in February 2016.
Last year, Russia helped Nepal overcome the consequences of a destructive earthquake.
It is satisfying that the approaches used by BRICS and BIMSTEC are to a large extent in step with the international agenda. Our countries are committed to the principles of international law and the UN’s central role in international affairs, condemn double standards, regime change by force, and stand for equal and indivisible security for all.
We know that the Bay of Bengal countries are seeking to step up counter-terrorism cooperation. BRICS countries are also working on this and have recently established a Working Group on Counter Terrorism to this effect. For this reason, we believe that it would be advisable to think about coordinating our counter-terrorism efforts.
To conclude, I would like to express confidence that today’s meeting will provide an additional impetus to reinforcing mutually beneficial, friendly relations between countries from the two associations based on the principles of equality, taking into account and respecting each other’s interests.
Thank you for your attention.