Vietnam proposes strengthening Mekong-India transport connectivity

07:00 08/08/2017
Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh has stressed the need to boost road, waterways and aviation connectivity in order to fully tap cooperation potential between Mekong nations and India.

Minh made the statement at the 8th Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Ministerial Meeting held on August 7 within the framework of the 50th ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting and related meetings in Manila, the Philippines.

The meeting also saw the participation of the foreign ministers from Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and India.

Along with the transport area, Vietnam also asked the participating countries to facilitate trade, especially in customs procedures, strengthen cooperation in protecting the environment, coping with climate change, and using and managing the Mekong and Ganga Rivers’ water resources sustainably.

The participating countries acknowledged these proposals, agreeing to establish a working group on transport to seek measures to intensify road, waterway and aviation connectivity, build a Buddhist trail through MGC countries, and boost coordination between their travel agencies.

The ministers also emphasised the importance of expanding cooperation in new areas to consolidate economic linkage and promote potential in trade and economic ties.

They suggested developing micro, small & medium enterprises (MSMEs), organising a global MSMEs Summit, strengthening cooperation among businesses, holding an annual MGC Business Forum with the first to take place in India in January 2018, and stepping up cooperation in health care, especially in malaria prevention.

At the meeting, participants applauded the achievements the two sides have gained over the past time, including the Asian Traditional Textiles Museum in Cambodia’s Siem Reap, a MGC scholarship programme with over 900 scholarships granted to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam each year, and a data centre at India's Nalanda University.