The 6th India-Cambodia, Laos PDR, Myanmar & Vietnam (CLMV) Business Conclave was held through the virtual platform India and CLMV countries are bound together not only by geographical contiguity but also by historical linkages and shared cultural heritage.
Covid-19 pandemic is 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. Prime Minister Narendra Modi had announced contribution of US$ 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.
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!
Addressing the meet, External Affairs Minister Dr. S Jaishankar, highlighted India’s Covid-19 related cooperation here to CLMV countries. India has provided medicine and medical supplies to Lao PDR and Myanmar. India believes that search for effective pharmaceutical interventions for Covid-19 is a continuous and collaborative effort. In this regard, India looks 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 New Delhi’s cooperation in the CLMV 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.
India believes 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 Government 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 US$ 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. Work is on for 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.
India and CLMV countries have a long historical and culture connect with each other. India is engaged in the restoration and preservation of numerous World 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.
Dwelling on India’s Vision of the Indo-Pacific; of which CLMV countries are a part, External Affairs Minister said, India 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). ‘Live and Let Live’ is the shared civilizational ethos of India and CLMV nations!
Script: Kaushik Roy; Air: News Analyst