BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) countries, of which Bhutan, Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Nepal, Sri Lanka and Thailand are members, are mulling a visa on the lines of the Schengen visa.
There is also another proposal to allow unrestricted vehicular movement within BBIN (Bangladesh, Bhutan, India and Nepal) to the other three members of BIMSTEC, i.e. Myanmar, Sri Lanka and Thailand.
BIMSTEC is embarking on negotiations to facilitate a free trade agreement which would cover 1.6 billion people with a GDP (gross domestic product) totalling $3 trillion. The Telegraph quotes the BIMSTEC secretariat as saying that it would take the recommendations that its trade chambers mooted to policy makers in these countries for approval. Shahriar Alam, Bangladesh Junior Minister for Foreign Affairs, said that they would like to see talks being held on investment in services to be hastened along with the discussions on trade in goods.
It is opined by BIMSTEC officials that the BBIN deal would help to encourage seamless trade and an investment agreement in services would pave the way for growth. Since SAARC has not taken off, if India works to widen the scope of the BBIN deals into BIMSTEC, officials of the finance ministry are reported to have said.