FS Shringla convenes Inter-Ministerial Coordination Group to take forward key initiatives with neighbours

New Delhi, April 12 : The first meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Coordination Group (IMCG) at Secretary level was convened by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla today. The IMCG is a high-level mechanism for comprehensive management of relations with India’s neighbours. The IMCG meeting today provided a comprehensive direction with a whole-of-government approach to promote better connectivity, stronger interlinkages and greater people-to-people connect with our neighbours. The issues considered by today’s Inter-Ministerial Coordination Group (IMCG) meeting on India’s neighbours included: • Construction of border infrastructure that would facilitate greater trade with neighbours like Nepal; • Special needs of countries such as Bhutan and Maldives in terms of supply of essential commodities; • Opening rail connectivity with Bangladesh; • Humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and Myanmar; • Fisheries issue with Sri Lanka. In addition to the IMCG mechanism, Ministries and Departments have been requested to accord priority to India’s neighbours in their international activities, programmes and projects, said sources. Further, the first ever training module on India’s neighbourhood was also organized by MEA at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration as part of the Foundation Course earlier this year. The IMCG has been setup as a high-level mechanism towards mainstreaming of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, in line with vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. Secretaries of Ministries/Departments of Home, Commerce, Finance, Fisheries, representatives from Ministries/Departments of Defence, Railways, Economic Affairs, Consumer Affairs, Agriculture & Farmers’ Welfare, Information & Broadcasting and from Cabinet Secretariat, National Security Council Secretariat as well as other relevant agencies along with heads of Border Guarding Forces participated in today’s meeting. The meeting deliberated upon and took important decisions on various aspects of India’s bilateral relationship with Afghanistan, Bangladesh, Bhutan, Maldives, Myanmar, Nepal, Pakistan and Sri Lanka in the areas of trade and investment, connectivity, border infrastructure, immigration, development cooperation, border security, etc, said an official statement. The IMCG is supported by Inter-Ministerial Joint Task Forces (JTF) convened by the concerned Joint Secretaries in the Ministry of External Affairs. Government of India’s efforts to deliver benefits like greater connectivity, stronger inter-linkages and greater people-to-people connect under India’s Neighbourhood First policy takes place through a whole-of-government approach with coordination involving various Ministries, Departments and agencies of GOI and of concerned State governments. The IMCG will further improve institutional coordination across government and provide comprehensive direction to this whole-of-government approach on India’s relations with its neighbouring countries. RN

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