In a first such initiative, militaries of BIMSTEC member nations barring Nepal began a week-long anti-terror exercise at Aundh near Pune on Monday to enhance cooperation in dealing with the challenge of terrorism in the region.
They said the long-term goal of the initiative is to explore possibility of creating a viable regional security architecture to deal with the challenge of terrorism and transnational crimes.
The army chiefs of several participating countries are scheduled to hold a detailed deliberation to explore possible areas of cooperation among the militaries of the BIMSTEC nations.
The exercise is taking place nearly two weeks after leaders of the BIMSTEC (Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation) countries, in their summit talks in Kathmandu, resolved to join hands to combat the scourge of terrorism effectively.
The Nepal government has decided against participating in the military drill.
The BIMSTEC is a regional grouping comprising Bangladesh, India, Myanmar, Sri Lanka, Thailand, Bhutan and Nepal. The grouping accounts for 22 per cent of the global population, and has a combined gross domestic product of USD 2.8 trillion.
The officials said special "tactical level" anti-terror operations will be practised in semi urban setting.
India has been pushing for making the BIMSTEC a vibrant form for regional collaboration as cooperation under the SAARC (South Asian Association of Regional Cooperation) framework was not moving forward.
Citing continuing support to cross-border terrorism from Pakistan, India has been maintaining that it was difficult to proceed with SAARC initiative under current circumstances. BIMSTEC excludes Pakistan.
During the Kathmandu summit, the leaders deliberated on a range of issues including ways to effectively deal with terrorism and radicalisation.
(This story has not been edited by Business Standard staff and is auto-generated from a syndicated feed.)