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Joint Ministerial Statement for the 9th Mekong- Ganga Cooperation Ministerial Meeting in Singapore

August 04, 2018

  • The Ninth Mekong Ganga Cooperation Ministerial Meeting (9th MGC MM) was held on 2nd August 2018 in Singapore. The Meeting was preceded by 10th MGC Senior Officials Meeting (SOM) on 1st August 2018.
  • The Meeting was co-chaired by H.E. Mr. Don Pramudwinai, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Kingdom of Thailand and H.E. Gen (Dr.) V.K. Singh (Retd.), Minister of State for External Affairs, Republic of India and attended by H.E. Mr. Prak Sokhonn, Senior Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs and International Cooperation, Kingdom of Cambodia; H.E. Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao PDR; H.E. U Kyaw Tin, Union Minister for International Cooperation, Republic of the Union of Myanmar, and H.E. Mr. Pham Binh Minh, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs, the Socialist Republic of Viet Nam.
  • The Ministers noted SOM report and appreciated the progress made towards the successful implementation of the Plan of Action 2016-18.
  • The Ministers noted the holding of the 1st Joint Working Group (JWG) on MSME Sector in Delhi in September 2017. They appreciated India’s interest to provide capacity building in SME and MSME sector to the Mekong countries and India’s readiness to share expertise in setting up regional value chains in sectors such as automobile components.
  • The Ministers noted the Joint Declaration of the 1st MGC JWG meeting on information sharing and cooperation in malaria and dengue management in New Delhi in November 2017. The Ministers noted the recommendation that the JWG Meetings may be held in the MGC countries on rotational basis.
  • The Ministers welcomed the organizing of 1st MGC Business Forum in New Delhi on 24th January 2018 and commended the fruitful discussion on promoting trade and investment among MGC countries. The Ministers encouraged the organization of similar business forums in MGC countries on rotational basis.
  • The Ministers expressed their satisfaction with the ongoing cooperation in the education sector and appreciated India’s contribution towards capacity building and human resource development in CLMV countries, including through the provision of 900 scholarships annually and the setting up of physical ICT infrastructure. The Ministers were pleased to learn that India will be offering five scholarships to Mekong countries in museology and conservation techniques, which could be of significant benefit to the MGC Asian Traditional Textiles Museum in Siem Reap, Cambodia.
  • The Ministers appreciated India’s contribution towards capacity building and human resource development in CLMV countries through offer of scholarships and also setting of physical IT infrastructures. The Ministers also encouraged India continue to assist in areas of digital connectivity and ICT infrastructure development in Mekong countries. They also appreciated Thailand for organizing training courses in various areas such as tourism management, food security, climate change, SDGs, and Sufficient Economy Philosophy (SEP). The Ministers felt the need for better coordination among different Ministries of MGC countries.
  • The Ministers took note of the progress in establishing the ‘Common Archival Resource Centre’ (CARC) in Nalanda University and supported sharing with India information and materials on areas such as archaeological sites, world heritages, settlement history, history of trade, population & religious distribution data, historical linkages to be kept as part of the CARC. The Ministers instructed the Senior Officials to speed up the process of setting up the CARC in Nalanda University.
  • The Ministers welcomed India’s suggestion to hold a meeting on ‘Rice Germplasm’ in the 2nd week of November 2018 and encouraged relevant agencies to coordinate on the preparation of the meeting. The Ministers also noted cooperation in areas of fisheries and animal husbandry.
  • The Ministers noted with satisfaction the progress made in implementation of projects supported by Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) Fund during 2016-2017 period, including 4 projects in Viet Nam to construct facilities for schools and kindergartens in remote areas; and 5 projects in Cambodia.
  • The Ministers underscored the importance of connectivity among MGC countries and expressed support for cooperation projects to develop sustainable and resilient infrastructure for sustainable and inclusive growth in MGC countries. Further, the Ministers looked forward to the early completion of the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral highway and its extension to Lao PDR, Cambodia and Viet Nam. The Ministers also recognized the importance of synergizing the MGC framework with the ASEAN Master Plan on Connectivity 2025 (MPAC 2025) and connectivity initiatives of other sub regional and inter regional frameworks.
  • Underscoring the importance of promoting tourism among MGC countries, the Ministers supported the idea to organize MGC Tourism Week in four metro cities of India in 2019. The Ministers also encouraged relevant agencies to establish the Buddhism trail which will play a major role in promoting Buddhist tourism. The Ministers supported the proposal by India to organize activities/events such as: celebrating India-ASEAN Year of Tourism 2019 with training programes for chefs from MGC countries on Indian cuisine in India's hotel management institutes; inviting craftsmen from MGC countries to participate in Surajkund Crafts Mela in February 2019; organizing MGC photography competition on tourism in India; conducting media programs on Buddhist and North-East circuits, and organizing tourism mart of MGC countries in India. MGC countries were invited to share the list of tourist sites to be incorporated in the Buddhist Trail, which can be jointly promoted by all MGC countries. The Ministers also highlighted the importance to boost up tourism in secondary cities in order to expand tourism industry to local people.
  • The Ministers appreciated the announcement made by Prime Minister of India in the establishment of digital villages in Mekong countries as part of India’s effort on promoting digital connectivity. The Ministers noted that some concrete proposals had been received from Lao PDR and Cambodia in this regard. The Ministers urged MGC countries to propose projects to be included in this initiative.
  • The Ministers noted the organising of the 1st MGC Policy Dialogue, a Track 1.5 event, on the theme of ‘Stronger Connectivity, Enhancing Ties’ on 8th April 2017 in New Delhi and supported India's proposal to make the dialogue an annual event. The Ministers agreed to explore ways to transform the MGC Policy Dialogue into a think-tank to carry out research and provide policy recommendations on specific subjects. Further discussion on this matter will be held among MGC countries.
  • The Ministers also supported the proposal by India to organise a MGC Trade-Fair in India to raise awareness among Indian entrepreneurs and investors about trade and investment potentials in Mekong countries. The Ministers urged closer collaboration between India and Mekong countries in trade promotion activities, customs inspection, sanitary and phyto-sanitary import clearance regulations to address trade bottlenecks and develop regional supply chains.
  • The Ministers took note of India’s interest to become a partner of Mekong River Commission (MRC) where Central Water Commission of India and MRC can share their expertise on water resources information management with Mekong countries, and also the proposal to hold the 1st Meeting on Water Management and Sustainable Use in New Delhi in later part of 2018. The Ministers noted the potential and agreed to explore ways to enhance cooperation between India and Mekong countries in areas such as natural resource management, especially management of water and related resources, environmental protection and climate change response.
  • The Ministers agreed to hold the 10th MGC Ministerial Meeting on the margins of ASEAN Foreign Minister Meeting in 2019 in Thailand. The date and venue of which will be communicated by diplomatic channels in due course.
Singapore
August 02, 2018

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