Shri Salman Khurshid, Minister of External Affairs visited the Lao PDR from 8-10 September, 2013. He held the 7th Lao-India Joint Commission Meeting on bilateral cooperation with his counterpart Dr. Thongloun Sisoulith, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao PDR in Vientiane on 9 September 2013. He will call on Mr. Choummaly Sayasone, President and Mr. Thongsing Thammavong, Prime Minister and will also inaugurate the 2nd Roundtable of the ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks, on 10 September 2013.
An Agreement under Line of Credit for four Irrigation Projects in three provinces in the Lao PDR for US$ 30.94 million was signed and conversion of another Line of Credit to substitute the Nam Boun-2 hydro power plant by the extension of transmission lines to Thasala-Laksao amounting to US$ 35.25 million was approved. The projects will contribute to socio-economic development in Lao PDR.
During the JCM, both Ministers expressed satisfaction with the development in bilateral relations and noted that close cooperation and partnership between the two countries have expanded rapidly for mutual benefit, in recent years. India reiterated its preparedness to continue to provide assistance to the areas of water management and irrigation, energy generation and transmission and capacity building. It was recognized that our soft credit and grant projects have improved the visibility of India and Indian products in Lao.
The Ministers identified agriculture, defence, ICT, culture, education, health, trade and investment promotion, mining as priority areas of cooperation between the two countries that would give further impetus to bilateral relations. A number of new initiatives were taken to promote people-to-people contacts, training and scholarship opportunities and expansion of private sector participation in trade and investment, as well as in health and education.
Both Ministers also exchanged views on a wide range of bilateral, regional and international issues of mutual interest. They agreed to strengthen coordination on ASEAN and multilateral issues. Lao has extended financial support to the Nalanda University, which is being developed as a centre of international excellence. Lao reiterated its support to India on UN and other multilateral issues.
EAM invited Foreign Minister of Lao PDR to visit India for the next meeting of the Joint Commission.
September 9, 2013
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