Inter-ministerial group discusses border infra, rail to Bangladesh

The Inter-Ministerial Coordination Group (IMCG) 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 will 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 IMCG, set up as a high-level mechanism towards mainstreaming of India’s ‘Neighbourhood First’ policy, was convened by Foreign Secretary Harsh Vardhan Shringla.

The meeting 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 the issues considered at the IMCG meeting included, besides construction of border infrastructure to facilitate greater trade with Nepal, the 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.

The IMCG is supported by Inter-Ministerial Joint Task Forces (JTF) convened by the joint secretaries concerned in the External Affairs Ministry.

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