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Bangkok: Jaishankar Co-Chairs 12th Mekong Ganga Cooperation Meeting

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Bangkok: External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar Co-chaired the 12th Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) meeting in Bangkok on Sunday along with his Laos counterpart PDR Saleumxay Kommasith.

Jaishankar prioritised the implementation of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway. They decided to establish a Mekong-Ganga Cooperation Business Council to take forward economic cooperation and expand the ambit of exchanges in agriculture, science and technology and water resource management.

The meeting also explored new areas of development partnership, including through Quick Impact Projects and taking forward culture and tourism, and deepening museum-based cooperation.

“Co-chaired the 12th Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) meeting in Bangkok today along with FM of Lao PDR Saleumxay Kommasith. Prioritizing the implementation of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway,” EAM Jaishankar tweeted.

Earlier in the day, Jaishankar met his Myanmar counterpart Than Swe, with the discussions centred on connectivity initiatives, especially about the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway.

Over 1,300-km-long highways are currently in the making, and, once opened, they will boost the trade ties between Myanmar and Thailand, while also harnessing the potential in the travel and tourism space.

The India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway holds the promise of expanded connectivity and regional integration. India has also proposed to extend the road to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam.

The also underlined the importance of ensuring peace and stability in the border areas.

Discussions took place on expediting the conclusion of the Motor Vehicles Agreement between the three countries, India, Myanmar and Thailand.

The leaders established a MGC Business Council to take forward economic cooperation and they also explored the new areas of the development partnership, including through Quick Impact Projects.

“Expedite the conclusion of the Motor Vehicles Agreement between the three countries. Established a MGC Business Council to take forward economic cooperation. Explored new areas of development partnership, including through Quick Impact Projects. Expand the ambit of exchanges in agriculture, science and technology and water resource management. Take forward culture and tourism, and deepen our museum-based cooperation,” he tweeted further.

Expansion of the ambit of exchanges in agriculture, science and technology and water resource management and taking forward culture and tourism, and deepening of the museum-based cooperation was also discussed.

Jaishankar, who arrived in Bangkok on Saturday, met the Myanmar Foreign Minister on the sidelines of the Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Mechanism meeting.

In the meeting with the Myanmar Foreign Minister, Jaishankar also raised the human and drug trafficking issues.

Taking to Twitter, Jaishankar said, “Met H.E. U Than Swe on the sidelines of the Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) meeting in Bangkok today. Our discussions focused on connectivity initiatives that have a larger regional significance. These will also be discussed at the MGC meeting this afternoon. Stressed the importance of expediting projects that have faced challenges in the recent past, especially the India-Myanmar-Thailand trilateral highway. Underlined the importance of ensuring peace and stability in our border areas. These have been seriously disturbed recently and any actions that aggravate the situation should be avoided.”

MGC is one of the oldest mechanisms of the lower Mekong region and is guided by India’s Act East Policy.

“Flagged concerns about human and drug trafficking. Urged stronger cooperation among relevant parties for the early return of trafficked victims. As an immediate neighbour, India is concerned about the humanitarian situation in Myanmar. Proposed people-centric initiatives aimed to address the pressing challenges. India supports the democratic transition process in Myanmar and highlights the need for the return of peace and stability. We will closely coordinate our policy with ASEAN in this regard,” he added.

After meeting Than Swe, Jaishankar met Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister of Thailand, Don Pramudwinai.

“Continuing our conversations from Jakarta. Pleased to meet Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Don Pramudwinai of Thailand today. Look forward to the Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) meeting this afternoon,” Jaishankar tweeted.

Meanwhile, in Bangkok, EAM will also attend the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation (BIMSTEC) Foreign Ministers’ Retreat on July 17. BIMSTEC is an economic and technical initiative which brings together the countries of the Bay of Bengal for multifaceted cooperation. The retreat would discuss ways to further deepen the BIMSTEC agenda and strengthen the organisation.

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