India’s multifaceted ties with CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar, and Vietnam) are getting transformed through Quick Impact Project (QIPs) that cover diverse areas such as water and connectivity.
At a recent webinar, India’s External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar underlined that QIP has been one of the mainstays of India’s cooperation with the CLMV countries since 2015. During this period, 29 projects were completed while 25 of 39 others, currently being implemented, were launched in 2020 alone. Also, these are mainly infrastructure and connectivity-related projects. However, from this year, water resource management has also been added to the QIP scheme. Addressing the 6th India-CLMV Business Conclave on December 4, Mr Jaishankar underlined India’s “firm belief” that business promotion and private investments are key to growth in the CLMV region and said India has launched a Project Development Fund, or PDF-CLMV Fund, with a Rs500 crore-corpus to boost Indian private sector investments in manufacturing and other activities in these countries.
Moreover, a new area of cooperation has started this year with the addition of water resource management to the QIP scheme, under which seven projects have been sanctioned in Vietnam to build efficient water management infrastructure in drought-prone areas of the country.
Two more projects were launched in Myanmar while one each in Vietnam and Cambodia has 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 the Mekong region, disbursing a total of USD 580 million for various projects, which included hydro-power generation, digital connectivity, rural electrification, irrigation, installation of transmission lines, and building of educational institutes,” Mr Jaishankar said. He also highlighted the work on the early operationalization of the India-Myanmar-Thailand highway and a proposal to connect Laos under the project. Capacity-building and human resource development is another area of cooperation between India and CLMV. India offers 50 scholarships annually to CLMV countries under the ICCR Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC). And nearly 700 scholarships for short-duration training programs under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) Program have already been provided. The IT sector, however, has been one of the initial pillars of the MGC partnership, under which Centers of Excellence in Software Development and Training with virtual classrooms and e-learning technologies were established in Cambodia, Laos, and Myanmar, the foreign minister said.
“India and CLMV countries have a long historical and cultural connection. Several archaeological sites discovered in the CLMV countries are of significant historical and cultural importance and some of them have 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 and Preah Vihar temple in Cambodia, Vat Phou in Laos, My Son temple in Vietnam, and Ananda Temple in Myanmar. India has also established an MGC Asian Traditional Textile Museum in Siam Reap, Cambodia, to preserve and showcase the rich and vibrant textile heritage of the Mekong-Ganga region,” he added.
Besides Mr Jaishankar, Commerce & Industry Minister Piyush Goyal, Cambodia’s Commerce Secretary Chhuon Dara, Laos Commerce, and Industry Minister Khemmani Pholsena, Myanmar’s Commerce Minister Than Myint, Vietnam’s Director General of Asia and Africa Markets Le Hoang Oanh, CII Director General Chandrajit Banerjee, Ambassadors of CLMV countries, and business representatives, among others also attended the conference.
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