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Speech by Minister of State for External Affairs on ''Building Bridges for Constructive Development'' at the 6th India-CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar and Vietnam) Business Conclave

Posted on: December 04, 2020 | Back | Print

Good Morning
Hon’ble Minister of Commerce and Industry, Shri Piyush Goyal ji !
H.E. Mr Chhuon Dara, Secretary of State, Ministry of Commerce, Cambodia
H.E. Ms Khemmani Pholsena, Minister of Industry and Commerce, Lao PDR
H.E. Mr Than Myint, Union Minister of the Ministry of Commerce, Myanmar
H.E. Mrs Le Hoang Oanh, Director General of Asia and Africa Markets Department, Socialist Republic of Vietnam
Director General of CII, Shri Chandrajit Banerjee
Ambassadors of CLMV countries and my Heads of Mission in CLMV countries
Distinguished colleagues, businessmen, ladies and gentlemen;

I appreciate the initiative taken by Confederation of Indian Industry(CII) to organize the 6th India-CLMV Business Conclave through the virtual platform. It is self-evident that India and CLMV countries are bound together not only by geographical contiguity but also by historical linkages and by shared cultural heritage…after all Myanmar is a part of our immediate neighbourhood.

Covid-19 pandemic is truly, an unprecedented crisis, which has upended our way of life. Even after several months of fighting the pandemic, we are uncertain about the true extent of damage this has caused in terms of loss of lives, livelihoods and to economies in the region. Naturally, our PM announced contribution of USD 1 million to ASEAN Covid-19 Response Fund and called for greater cooperation in area of traditional medicine, during 17th India-ASEAN Summit on Nov 12, 2020.

You are already aware that India has played a key role in keeping open the global supply chains for essential medicines and deploying Medical Assistance Teams comprising doctors, nurses and paramedics during this crisis. It is not an exaggeration that India has earned the title of ‘Pharmacy of the World’ by making available quality life-saving medicines at affordable cost to all the needy people around the world !

I would like to highlight our Covid-related cooperation here to CLMV countries. India has provided medicine and medical supplies to Lao PDR and Myanmar. Further, as a capacity building measure, Medical officers from Armed forces of CLMV countries participated in an e-ITEC Defence Medical Course on Covid-19 organised from July 6-9, 2020. India believes that search for effective pharmaceutical interventions for Covid-19 is a continuous and collaborative effort. In this regard, we look forward for an enhanced cooperation and collaboration between ASEAN countries on vaccine and drug development even as we are ready to share Covid vaccine with them, whenever it is made available.

Quick Impact Project(QIP) Scheme has been one of the major mainstay of our cooperation in the CLMV (Cambodia, Lao PDR, Myanmar & Vietnam) countries since 2015. Under QIP scheme, 29 projects were completed in CLMV countries since its inception. Currently 39 projects are under implementation out of which 25 projects have been sanctioned in the year 2020. A new area of cooperation namely Water Resource Management has also been added under QIP scheme this year, under which 7 projects have been sanctioned in Vietnam, aimed towards building infrastructure for efficient water management in its drought prone areas.

It is our firm belief that promotion of businesses and private investments is essential for growth in CLMV region. Towards this end, a Project Development Fund titled "PDF-CLMV Fund" with a corpus of Rs. 500 crore has been created by Govt. of India in order to catalyse investments from Indian private sector in the CLMV region by setting up manufacturing hubs in CLMV countries. In this regard, currently 2 projects in Myanmar and 1 project each in Vietnam and Cambodia have been identified for collaboration with the Indian private sector.

Development of Infrastructure and Connectivity is a vital area of cooperation between India and Mekong countries(which includes all CLMV countries plus Thailand). In this regard, India has extended Lines of Credit (LoC) to Mekong region, disbursing a total of USD 580 million for various projects which include hydro power generation, digital connectivity, rural electrification, irrigation schemes, installation of transmission lines and building of educational institutes. Currently work is being done on the early operationalization of the India-Myanmar-Thailand(IMT) Trilateral Highway and a proposal is also being considered by Lao PDR for eastward extension of the IMT trilateral highway.

Another area of our cooperation in CLMV region is capacity building and human resource development. India currently offers scholarship to CLMV countries which include 50 annual scholarships under ICCR Mekong-Ganga Cooperation(MGC) Scholarship Scheme, and close to 700 scholarships for short-duration training programmes administered bilaterally under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Programme. Collaboration with the Mekong countries on the IT front has been one of the initial pillars of MGC partnership. Centres of Excellence in Software Development and Training (CESDT) with Virtual classrooms and e-Learning Technologies has been established in Cambodia, Lao PDR & Myanmar in this regard. The Centre in Vietnam is also close to completion. The IT training activities have also been successfully ongoing in the MGC countries with Indian experts being deputed in the CESDT centres on regular basis.

As initially highlighted, India and CLMV countries have a long historical and culture connect with each other. There are several archaeological sites discovered in the CLMV countries which are of significant historical and cultural importance and some of them have also been recognized as UNESCO world heritage sites. India has been engaged in the restoration and preservation of numerous such heritage sites in CLMV countries which include the restoration work at Ta-Prohm Temple & Preah Vihar temple in Cambodia, Vat Phou in Lao PDR, My Son temple in Vietnam and Ananda Temple in Myanmar. India has also established a MGC Asian Traditional Textile Museum in Siam Reap, Cambodia with the aim of preserving and showcasing the rich and vibrant textile heritage of the Mekong-Ganga region.

Ladies and Gentlemen ! India's Vision of the Indo-Pacific, of which CLMV countries are a part, envisages a free, open, inclusive and rules-based Indo-Pacific region with an emphasis on ASEAN centrality, respect for sovereignty and territorial integrity of all nations in the region, peaceful resolution of disputes, avoidance of use or threat of use of force and adherence to international laws, rules and regulations. India’s objective is a multi-faceted engagement with all countries in the region and those with stakes in it, to enhance Security And Growth for All in the Region (SAGAR). After all, ‘Live and Let Live’ is the shared civilizational ethos of India and CLMV nations !

India is committed to ASEAN integration and connectivity agenda, and look forward to ASEAN countries for utilization of USD 1 billion credit line for enhancement of physical and digital connectivity. I would like to take this opportunity to invite CLMV countries to join the International Solar Alliance (ISA), Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure(CDRI) and participate in activities of seven pillars of Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative [(IPOI), which has synergies with ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP)]. Platforms such as these can go a long way in reassuring an uncertain world about the progressive policy decisions which National Governments are undertaking to counter the negative effects of this pandemic and to suggest the way forward.

I would conclude by thanking everyone for their invaluable contributions for the successful organization of this conference. I am confident that our shared commitment will take our cooperation to ever greater heights.

New Delhi
December 03, 2020