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  • Jaishankar emphasises on better connectivity between India and other MGC nations

    Published on August 2, 2019

    External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar has emphasised on better connectivity between India and other member countries of the Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) bloc for developing a vibrant economic growth corridor.

    The MGC, is a sub-regional cooperation organisation comprising India and five ASEAN countries, namely, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam.

    Addressing the 10th MGC Ministerial Meeting in the Thai capital Bangkok today, Dr Jaishankar said, connectivity is a major focus area of cooperation for India. He said, New Delhi looks forward to the early completion of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and its extension to Cambodia, Lao PDR and Vietnam. He said, the Jakarta-based Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA) have been tasked to study the feasibility of developing the planned highway as a vibrant economic growth corridor.  The full report is expected to be completed early next year.

    The Minister also emphasised on the need to quickly finalise the India-Myanmar-Thailand Motor Vehicle Agreement to facilitate seamless movement of goods and passengers across borders. He said, the move, will lead to greater trade and tourism.
    India had earlier announced a one billion dollar Line of Credit for connectivity projects in the ASEAN.

    Dr Jaishankar also emphasised on enhancing direct air connectivity between the member nations to facilitate better business and tourism. He announced that Indian carrier, IndiGo, will start direct flights on the New Delhi-Ho Chi Minh City sector from October and daily services from Kolkata to Yangon from late September.

    IndiGo and Vistara have also been designated Indian carriers under the India-Cambodia bilateral Air Services Agreement. The meeting was also attended by representatives of MGC member countries.

    During the meeting, the new MGC Plan of Action 2019-2022 was adopted that envisages project-based cooperation in various areas including tourism and culture, education, public health and traditional medicine, agriculture and allied sectors, transport and communication, MSMEs and water resources management.

    MGC which takes its name from the Ganga and the Mekong, the two civilisational rivers in Southeast Asia, was launched in 2000 at Laos capital Vientiane. The MGC aims at facilitating closer contacts among the people inhabiting these two major river basins and enhancing cooperation in tourism, culture, education, transport and communications.