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

August 13th, 2012 - 8:38 pm ICT by IANS  

New Delhi, Aug 13 (IANS) Ahead of the India-ASEAN commemorative summit in December, India will be hosting a meeting of the six-nation Mekong-Ganga Cooperation grouping that will bring the foreign ministers of Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia here next month.

The Mekong-Ganga foreign ministers’ meeting is expected to be held Sep 5-6, said informed sources. It will be preceded by a meeting of senior officials of six countries, which will firm up the agenda for the foreign ministers’ meeting.

The ministerial meeting will focus on spurring connectivity projects and explore ways to boost economic, cultural and tourism exchanges among these fast-growing countries and India.

External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will also hold bilateral talks with his counterparts from five Southeast Asian nations, which are among 10 countries comprising the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).

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 Laos 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 Ganges and river Mekong.

The ministerial meeting is among a slew of events that will showcase the upward swing 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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