As part of its 'Act East’ policy, New Delhi has been stressing on the centrality of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s role in ensuring stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
Besides reiterating the importance of building a peaceful Indo-Pacific region, India and Vietnam on Tuesday inked three MoUs in the fields of communications, education and trade and investment.
Both countries have agreed to further deepen the bilateral cooperation in defence, peaceful uses of atomic energy and outer space, science and technology, oil and gas, infrastructure development, agriculture and innovation-based sectors.
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As part of its ‘Act East’ policy, New Delhi has been stressing on the centrality of Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)’s role in ensuring stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
After meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Phu Trong, President Ram Nath Kovind in his address to the media said “Our discussions covered the full range of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. And we both reiterated the importance of building a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region on the basis of respect for national sovereignty and international law.”
Vietnam is a key partner of India in Southeast Asia and the bilateral relationship was elevated to that of a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit in 2016, and has also served as country coordinator for India with the ASEAN regional bloc for three years till July this year.
The two leaders also reviewed the implementation of the Indian line of credit of $100 million for building high-speed patrol vessels for Vietnamese Border Guards. The two countries have decided to further deepen defence relations and to soon begin dialogue on strengthening maritime security cooperation.
With India-Vietnam bilateral trade at $12.8 bn touching last year, the two countries have agreed to “encourage our industry to tap into the growing economic opportunities in our own countries and in the region”.
Prior to his meeting with Trong, Kovind addressed the National Assembly during which he said that India and Vietnam shared a common vision for the Indo-Pacific.
Describing Vietnam as a key pillar of India’s Act East Policy under which is New Delhi is increasing its engagements with Southeast Asia; Kovind said that “Vietnam is pivotal to India’s Act East policy.”
At the recently concluded East Asia Summit in Singapore, India which is part of the Quad of US, Japan and Australia met on the sidelines that was revived last year to work for peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific, a region that stretches from the east coast of Japan to the east coast of Africa.