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Ahead of ASEAN summit, India to host Mekong-Ganga meeting

Monday September 03, 2012 08:01:02 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Senior officials of the Mekong-Ganga Cooperation grouping, also comprising Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia, met here to firm up the agenda for the meeting of their foreign ministers to explore pathways of collaboration among the six countries.

Ahead of the India-ASEAN commemorative summit in December, External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna Tuesday will also be meeting Cambodian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Hor Namhong and Laotian Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Thongloun Sisoulith.

The Mekong-Ganga foreign ministers' meeting is expected to focus on spurring connectivity projects and explore ways to boost economic, cultural and tourism exchanges among these fast-growing countries and India.

The meeting will review cooperation between the MGC countries and set out the future direction of this important mechanism for enhanced cooperation in the region, the external affairs ministry said here.

The Mekong-Ganga meeting is being held ahead of the ASEAN-India commemorative summit in New Delhi Dec 20-21 which will mark the 20th anniversary of the ASEAN-India dialogue partnership and the 10th anniversary of ASEAN-India Summit-level partnership.

The theme of the summit is "ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace and Shared Prosperity".

The summit will culminate in the adoption of the ASEAN-India Vision Statement 2020, which would map out the future direction of ASEAN-India relations.

The six-nation Mekong-Ganga Cooperation is a loose grouping that was formed in Laotian capital Vientiane in 2000 to expand cooperation in areas of tourism, culture, education and communications between India and the five Mekong river basin countries.

The grouping was formed to leverage cultural and civilizational affinities among the riparian states of the Ganga and Mekong.

The ministerial meeting is among a number of events that will showcase the upward trajectory in India's Look East policy that is acquiring momentum against the backdrop of China flexing its muscles in the region.




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