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* Sri Lankan President leaves for BIMSTEC Summit in Myanmar
Mon, Mar 3, 2014, 11:06 am SL Time, ColomboPage News Desk, Sri Lanka.

Mar 03, Colombo: Sri Lankan President Mahinda Rajapaksa has left the island this morning to attend the third BIMSTEC Summit, which will take place Tuesday (March 04) in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar, President's media release said.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) is a regional grouping of seven South and South East Asian countries: Bangladesh, Bhutan, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand.

The seven-country forum aims at maintaining and promoting beneficial cooperation among members, especially in identified priority sectors such as trade and investment, technology, energy, tourism and agriculture. The grouping aims to achieve its own free trade area by 2017.

Sri Lanka has been associated with BIMSTEC from its inception and is the lead country for the technology sector. As agreed at the second Summit in New Delhi, Sri Lanka is now working to set up a BIMSTEC Technology Transfer Facility in the country.

Sri Lankan President will address the Summit Tuesday.

Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh who will attend the 3rd BIMSTEC Summit on 4th March will hold talks with Sri Lankan President on the sidelines of the Summit, India's Foreign Secretary Sujatha Singh announced last week.

The Indian Premier will be meeting the Sri Lankan leader for the first time after skipping last year's Commonwealth Heads of Government Meeting held in Colombo in November after bowing to the pressure from the Tamil Nadu political leaders.

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