India’s online newspaper, “The Economic Times,” ran an article on June 21 by Dipanjan Roy Chaudhury highlighting prospects for India and Vietnam to forge stronger connections through the Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam (CLMV) Summit that is being held in Nay Pyi Taw, Myanmar from June 22-23.

The article quoted Indian government sources as saying that better economic integration among CLMV countries will facilitate India's Act East Policy which centres on the four countries. India has strong links with each of CLMV countries, it said.

India's commerce ministry has requested 16.1 million USD in budget allocations for a Project Development Fund to invest in the CLMV manufacturing hubs, it said, adding that India already has strong investments in some of the CLMV countries.

There are as many as 84 projects funded by India in Vietnam . Major Indian investment in Vietnam includes large projects in oil exploration, power generation and chemical manufacturing. India has also contributed 1 billion USD to CLMV countries for power, irrigation and manufacturing projects, noted the article.

Trade between India and CLMV countries grew ten-fold from 1.1 billion USD in 2004 to 11.2 billion USD in 2013, noted the article.

The author asserted that Vietnam has the strongest economy among the CLMV countries and has witnessed high growth rates in recent years. Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung will be attending both the CLMV and Ayeyawaddy-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy Summits in Nay Pyi Taw to outline his country's plan for economic integration through infrastructure and outside investment.

Over the past years, Vietnam's combined trade turnover with Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand rose from 7.1 billion USD in 2009 to 12.8 billion USD in 2012, he noted.

In the run up to the seventh CLMV summit, Vietnam has also made significant contributions to strengthening integration among the four countries. The Single Window or Single Stop Inspection model has been implemented since February 2015 at the Lao Bao (Vietnam) - Densavan (Laos) border gates.

Vietnam, Laos, Thailand are coordinating to expand the East-West Corridor (EWC) to economic hubs of all three countries, which could also help connect India through Myanmar. Hanoi has also pushed to implement most of the CLMV 2014 Action Plan ahead of this Summit, including promoting regional tourism events.

Looking back to the last ACMES Summit in Laos in 2013, the article noted that at the summit, PM Dung emphasised that joint efforts by ACMECS need to support the establishment of the ASEAN Economic Community by 2015 and ensure sustainable regional development. The Vietnamese PM also felt that ACMECS cooperation programmes should focus on promoting regional connections through the East-West Economic Corridor (EWEC), the North-South Economic Corridor and the Southern Economic Corridor (SEC).-VNA