India to host ministers of Mekong-Ganga countriesDecember 5th, 2011 - 6:32 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Dec 5 (IANS) In a boost to its Look East policy, India will host the meeting of Mekong-Ganga Cooperation grouping that will bring together foreign ministers of Thailand, Myanmar, Laos, Vietnam and Cambodia here later this month to explore ways to boost economic and cultural linkages in the region.
The ministerial meeting of the Mekong-Ganga grouping kicks off Nov 12 and will be preceded by a meeting of senior officials of these countries, official sources said.
The ministers are expected to discuss connectivity projects and ways to boost cultural and tourism exchanges among the
External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna will also hold bilateral talks with his counterparts from five Southeast Asian nations.
The six-nation Mekong-Ganga Cooperation is a loose grouping that was formed in 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 comes at a time when India is putting its Look East policy on a higher trajectory against the backdrop of China flexing its muscles in the region.
In 2012, India will host Thai Prime Minister Yingluck Shinawatra as the chief guest on Republic January 26 Day and hosts its first India-ASEAN summit that will telescope New Delhi’s multi-faceted ties with the region.
In October, the leaders of Vietnam and Myanmar visited India in quick succession. Last month, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh interacted with leaders of the region at the India-ASEAN and East Asia summits in Bali in Indonesia.
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