Bangkok (VNA) – Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar co-chaired the 10th Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC) Ministerial Meeting in Bangkok, Thailand, on August 1 within the framework of the 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-52).

The meeting was also attended by the foreign ministers of Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Thailand.

Speaking at the event, Minh lauded MGC’s activities over the past years and thanked India for providing support for the Mekong region.

As the year 2020 marks the 20th anniversary of MGC, he suggested giving priority to strengthening connectivity, especially the expansion of the East - West Economic Corridor and India – Myanmar – Thailand expressway leading to Cambodia, Laos and Vietnam, the Southern Economic Corridor leading to India via roads and sea routes.

Other areas include trade and investment facilitation via removal of trade barriers; cooperation in customs clearance, quarantine and regional supply chain development; sustainable water resources management, especially collecting and monitoring water resources data, underground water management, climate change adaptation, flooding and drought control.

The ministers hailed MGC’s past activities, particularly the grant of scholarships to Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam; the construction of Asian traditional textiles museum in Siem Reap, a data centre in India’s Nalanda University, business forums and meetings of working groups on MGC’s small and medium-sized enterprises.

In particular, the MGC Quick Impact Projects Fund offered financial assistance to 24 projects in the Mekong nations, including nine in Vietnam.

In order to further tap joint work between the Mekong countries and India, they adopted the MGC action plan for the 2019 – 2022 period, which features new cooperation areas such as water resources management, science-technology, capacity improvement and skills development.

They vowed to continue partnership in agriculture, aquaculture, health care, trade, culture and tourism.

The meeting welcomed India becoming a development partner of the Ayeyawady-Chao Phraya-Mekong Economic Cooperation Strategy (ACMECS).

The ministers also adopted a joint statement at the end of the meeting and agreed to hold the 11th MGC Ministerial Meeting in Vietnam in 2020.-VNA