New Delhi, March 21 (IANS) In a bid to enhance cooperation in countering security challenges, the national security chiefs of the Bimstec countries held their first meeting here on Tuesday.

“Strengthening cooperation to counter security challenges,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Gopal Baglay tweeted.

“First Meeting of National Security Chiefs of Bimstec countries held in New Delhi today,” he said.

The Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (Bimstec) is a regional bloc comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal.

With the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation (Saarc) regional group increasingly becoming ineffective mainly due to non-cooperation by Pakistan on several issues, India has been giving more importance to the Bimstec regional grouping in recent times.

Last year, as the host of the BRICS (Brazil, Russia, India, China, South Africa) Summit, India also organised a Bimstec outreach meeting on the sidelines in Goa.

This is published unedited from the IANS feed.