Mekong Ganga Cooperation countries, including India, have underlined the need to step up efforts to enhance connectivity among the member nations and agreed to establish a joint working group to explore ways to boost maritime cargo transportation. At the eighth Mekong Ganga Cooperation Meeting here, the ministers, including Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh, emphasised on the need to expedite the collaboration while seeking continuously to identify newer areas of cooperation, in order to strengthen economic linkages and to tap trade and investment potential of the cooperation between India and Mekong countries. The ministers reiterated the need to step up efforts towards enhancing connectivity between India and the Mekong Sub-region and agreed to establish MGC Joint Working Group to explore ways to enhance maritime cargo transportation and land connectivity amongst MGC countries, according to a joint statement. They also welcomed India's proposal to host the ASEAN India Connectivity Summit in New Delhi later in 2017 to further give impetus to enhancing cooperation amongst MGC partners. The ministers also appreciated the efforts of Nalanda University towards strengthening inter-Asian cooperation and facilitating research on the Mekong Ganga region, it said. They noted the updated status of the establishment of the 'Common Archival Resource Centre' at the Nalanda University and urged all partners to commence preparation of archives which can be shared for the creation of the Common Archival Resource Centre, it said. The ministers noted that Malaria continues to be a key public health challenge in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) countries.
The ministers instructed the senior officials to evaluate the areas of cooperation in this field between the MGC countries and convene a meeting of experts to discuss the threat of drug resistant malaria at the earliest. The MGC is an initiative by India and five ASEAN countries, Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, Thailand and Vietnam for cooperation in tourism, culture, education, as well as transport and communications. It was launched in 2000 at Vientiane, Laos. Both the Ganga and the Mekong are civilisational rivers, and the MGC initiative aims to facilitate closer contacts among the people inhabiting these two major river basins.
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