FS Shringla hosts first IMCG meeting to facilitate India's 'neighbourhood first' policy

Published on : 08:59 PM Apr 12, 2022

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.

New Delhi: The first meeting of the Inter-Ministerial Coordination Group (IMCG) at the Secretary level was convened by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla on Tuesday. The IMCG has been set up as a high-level mechanism for mainstreaming India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, in line with the vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi.

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Secretaries of Ministries and Departments of Home, Commerce, Finance, Fisheries, representatives from Ministries and Departments of Defence, Railways, Economic Affairs, Consumer Affairs, Agriculture and Farmers’ Welfare, Information & Broadcasting and 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 MEA said.

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. Advertisement

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According to sources, issues considered by Tuesday’s Inter-Ministerial Coordination Group (IMCG) meeting on India’s neighbours include the 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 fisheries issues 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. 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.

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The IMCG is supported by Inter-Ministerial Joint Task Forces (JTF) convened by the concerned Joint Secretaries in the Ministry of External Affairs. The government of India’s efforts to deliver benefits like greater connectivity, stronger inter-linkages and greater people-to-people connections 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 concerned State governments.

The IMCG will further improve institutional coordination across government and provide comprehensive direction to this whole-of-government approach to India’s relations with its neighbouring countries.

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