Border infrastructure construction, opening rail connectivity with Bangladesh discussed at IMCG meet

Published on : 10:28 PM Apr 12, 2022

The first meeting at the secretary level of the Inter-Ministerial Coordination Group (IMCG), setup as a high-level mechanism towards mainstreaming of India's 'Neighbourhood First' policy, was convened by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

New Delhi: The Inter-Ministerial Coordination Group for a comprehensive management of India's relations with neighbouring countries on Tuesday deliberated on a host of issues, including the construction of border infrastructure that would facilitate greater trade with neighbours like Nepal, opening rail connectivity with Bangladesh and humanitarian assistance to Afghanistan and Myanmar. The first meeting at the secretary level of the Inter-Ministerial Coordination Group (IMCG), setup as a high-level mechanism towards mainstreaming of India's 'Neighbourhood First' policy, was convened by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

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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, the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said in a statement. Sources said issues considered at the IMCG meeting 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 and the fisheries issue with Sri Lanka.

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Secretaries of ministries/Departments of Home, Commerce, Finance, Fisheries, representatives from Ministries/Departments of Defence, Railways, Economic Affairs, Consumer Affairs, Agriculture & Farmer' 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 the meeting. The IMCG is supported by Inter-Ministerial Joint Task Forces (JTF) convened by the joint secretaries concerned in the Ministry of External Affairs.

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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 the Centre and of state governments concerned. 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. 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.

The first ever training module on India's neighbourhood was also organised by the MEA at the Lal Bahadur Shastri National Academy of Administration as part of the Foundation Course earlier this year. MEA spokesperson Arindam Bagchi said IMCG provided a comprehensive direction with the whole-of-government approach to promote better connectivity, stronger interlinkages and greater people-to-people connect with India's neighbours.

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PTI

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