Peace, prosperity in Mekong region play key role in India's Act East policy: Jaishankar
External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar on Sunday said that peace and prosperity in the Mekong region play a pivotal role in realising India’s vision for security and growth for all countries in the region under its Act East policy.
In his opening remarks at the 12th Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Mechanism meeting in Bangkok, Jaishankar said the lower Mekong region holds immense significance for India both in a historic sense and a contemporary one. “We represent the ancient river civilisations of this continent,” said Jaishankar, who co-chaired the meeting along with Lao PDR Foreign Minister Saleumxay Kommasith.
The Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) is an initiative by six countries – India and five ASEAN countries – Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar, Thailand, and Vietnam – for cooperation in tourism, culture, education, as well as transport and communications. “Peace and prosperity in the region also play a pivotal role in realising Prime Minister (Narendra) Modi’s vision of security and growth for all in the region under India’s Act East policy,” the minister said.
“The Mekong Ganga Cooperation holds a special place in this region as the oldest sub-regional cooperation rooted in the rich historical, geographical and cultural ties among our six member countries,” Jaishankar said. “It epitomises our commitment to build upon a rich heritage and channel our collective aspirations into tangible actions that will positively impact the lives of our citizens,” he said.
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.
➡️ Expedite the conclusion of the Motor Vehicles Agreement between… pic.twitter.com/07egAiGz9O
— Dr. S. Jaishankar (@DrSJaishankar) July 16, 2023
India, he said, is also steadfast in its dedication to enhancing comprehensive connectivity within the region. “Our commitment extends beyond the talks. It is grounded in action,” Jaishankar said, underling various flagship projects like the MGC, MGC scholarships, the Centre for Excellence in software development training and the MGC traditional textile museum.
These projects, the minister said, “bear testament to our commitment for on-ground implementation”. India has also welcomed the initiative of the countries of the Mekong sub-region to synergise various developmental initiatives in the region. Through a collaborative effort, “we aim to fulfil the contemporary aspirations of our people, fostering an environment of growth stability and shared opportunities,” he said.
Later in a tweet, Jaishankar said the meeting discussed prioritising the implementation of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway and expediting the conclusion of the Motor Vehicles Agreement between the three countries. He said the establishment of a MGC Business Council to take forward economic cooperation and exploring new areas of development partnership, including through Quick Impact Projects, were also discussed.
The meeting also discussed the expansion of “the ambit of exchanges in agriculture, science and technology and water resource management” and taking “forward culture and tourism, and deepening our museum-based cooperation”, Jaishankar tweeted.
(With agency inputs)