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Overview of EAM Sushma Swaraj’s 2-day official visit to Laos PDR

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On November 22-23, 2018, External Affairs Minister of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, paid a 2-day Official Visit to Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR).

Overview of EAM Sushma Swaraj's 2-day official visit to Laos PDRHighlights:

  • She co-chaired the 9th India-Lao PDR Joint Commission Meeting along with H.E. Mr. Saleumxay Kommasith, Foreign Minister of Lao PDR.
  • EAM also addressed the Indian community in Lao PDR.

2-day Visit to Laos:
On November 22, 2018, External Affairs Minister of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj, reached Laos.

  • She interacted with the Indian diaspora and attended an Indian community event in Vientiane.
  • She appreciated the role of the Indian community in acting as a bridge to strengthen India-Laos relations.
  • On her interaction she also mentioned MEA’s directive to Indian Embassies to look after the safety and security of expatriate Indians.

Attending the 9th India-Lao PDR Joint Commission Meeting:
On November 23, 2018, External Affairs Minister of India, Smt. Sushma Swaraj co-chaired the 9th Joint Commission Meeting on Bilateral Cooperation (JCM), between the Lao People’s Democratic Republic (Lao PDR) and the Republic of India, held in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
i. The Lao delegation was led by His Excellency Saleumxay Kommasith, Minister of Foreign Affairs of the Lao PDR.
ii. They held constructive discussions covering cooperation in agriculture, trade and investment, defence, education, culture, information technology, energy and mining.
iii. The following lists the progress made in the meeting:

  • MoU between the Institute of Foreign Affairs of the Lao PDR and the Foreign Service Institute of India were signed for cooperation in the field of Diplomatic training.
  • Both side agreed to continue defence cooperation and carry out exchange of visits at the level of high-ranking military officers.
  • Both sides agreed to encourage the two Chambers of Commerce and Industry of the Lao PDR and Indiato organize business forums to promote cooperation in trade and investment.
  • Both agreed to accelerate the negotiation on the Double Taxation and Avoidance Agreement (DTAA)
  • Both acknowledged the setting up of a Centre of Excellence in Software Development and Training (CESDT)under the ASEAN-India Framework which is currently being implemented.
  • India agreed in assisting Lao in the existing Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC)programs for natural resources and environmental management.
  • India agreed to the proposal of Lao to train Customs Officers of Lao PDR.
  • India and Lao agreed to establish an ICCR Chair on Buddhist Studies at the Buddhist College in Vientiane, Lao PDR.
  • Both parties agreed to strengthen cooperation on infrastructure development, physical connectivity, as well as to support the implementation of the ASEAN ICT Master Plan 2020 in order to connect ASEAN and India
  • Lao PDR reiterated support for the India’s candidature for Permanent Membership of a reform UNSC.
  • Lao will consider positively about India’s non-permanentcandidature of the UN Security Council for the term 2021-2022.
  • Finally, India agreed to grant a total line of credit proposal offer of USD 250 million to Lao PDR.

iv. The next JCM between the Lao PDR and the Republic of India will be held in India.

Meeting with Laotian PM Thongloun Sisoulith:
On November 23, 2018, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj met Laotian Prime Minister Thongloun Sisoulith in Vientiane.

  • They discussed bilateral relations and areas of mutual interest and resolved to strengthen ties through political dialogue and increased trade and investment.
  • India agreed to assist Laos through soft loan projects aimed at building the country’s infrastructure including roads, agriculture & irrigation, IT, human resource development and other sectors.

Lao PDR:
♦ Capital: Vientiane.
♦ Currency: Lao kip.