The two sides have approved a plan to implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity 2016-2020, as they look towards the 25-year celebration of their dialogue ties in 2017. — VNA/VNS Photo Thong Nhat
HÀ NỘI (VNS) — As the coordinator of ASEAN-India relations, Việt Nam will do its utmost to increase the co-operation between the two sides, Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Lê Hoài Trung said.
He spoke at the 18th ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting (SOM), which was held in Hà Nội yesterday and Thursday.
Trung and his Indian counterpart, Preeti Saran, co-chaired the event for the first time since Việt Nam took charge as coordinator of ASEAN-India relations from August 2015 to August 2018.
As a strategic partner of ASEAN, India is actively implementing its Act East policy, which aims to enhance relations with Southeast Asian countries as a top priority.
The two sides have approved a plan to implement the ASEAN-India Partnership for Peace, Progress and Shared Prosperity 2016-2020, as they look towards the 25-year celebration of their dialogue ties in 2017.
The two nations’ bilateral relations have developed in three areas: politics and security, economics, and culture and society, contributing to the ASEAN Community’s establishment in 2015 and an increase in regional connectivity.
Two-way trade reached US$74.3 billion in 2013-14, and it is expected to hit $200 billion by 2025 as a result of the effective implementation of bilateral free trade agreements on goods, services and investment.
ASEAN hailed India for its soon-to-be implemented US$1-billion credit package to facilitate infrastructure and digital connectivity with the ASEAN bloc.
The two sides agreed to co-operate in their fields of strength, such as information technology, space technology, bio-technology, new material technology, the environment, and pharmaceutical manufacturing and processing.
They also voiced their deep concerns over the complicated developments in the East Sea, stressing the need to exercise restraint and obey international law, and they expressed hope that a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC) will soon be reached.
Participants talked about combating cross-border challenges such as terrorism, cyber security and climate change.
"Viet Nam will act as a bridge to connect ASEAN and India and expand collaboration, especially in promoting regional connectivity and developing small- and medium-sized enterprises, the digital economy and high technology," Trung said.
He said India and Viet Nam shared many cultural and historical similarities. He suggested the two sides forge closer ties for peace, security and development, thus helping ASEAN promote its central role in the region.
Regarding the East Sea issues, Trung highlighted the maintenance of peace, stability and navigational safety as a common concern of all nations in and out of the region, including India.
He said he hoped India would make more active contributions and enhance co-operation with ASEAN to deal with any disputes via peaceful means. —VNS