|Prof. Rajaram Panda, former member of the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) and the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in New Delhi. — VNA/VNS Photo|
NEW DELHI — Over the course of its 28-year journey as a member of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), Việt Nam has proven to be a proactive, dynamic, responsible nation contributing to the common prosperity of the region, said an Indian expert.
Prof. Rajaram Panda, former member of the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) and the Institute for Defence Studies and Analyses (IDSA) in New Delhi, said over the past 28 years, Việt Nam has taken the initiative and proposed numerous initiatives to cope with and address ASEAN's challenges and issues.
Việt Nam was hailed for its prompt, urgent and highly effective response to the COVID-19 pandemic in the early months, making it a model for other ASEAN countries to learn from. The country has also made utmost efforts to formulate a Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC), he said.
He added that Việt Nam has also been actively acting to protect ASEAN's central role. In its own way, Việt Nam has demonstrated its responsibility as an ASEAN member through its foreign policies. With a well-balanced foreign policy, Việt Nam has successfully found solutions without getting entangled in any conflicts.
Regarding the three pillars forming the ASEAN Community, including Political-Security Community, Economic Community, and Socio-Cultural Community, the Indian expert believed that the second pillar is of utmost importance because achieving this goal relies on the foundation of economic development in the region.
During its tenure as ASEAN Chair in 2020, he said Việt Nam made great efforts to promote and effectively uphold ASEAN's central and guiding role, toward the signing of the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in November 2020.
Talking to the Vietnam News Agency, Collins Chong Yew Keat, a policy and foreign affairs expert at the Kuala Lumpur-based University of Malaya, said Việt Nam has always played an active part in and made active and responsible contributions to ASEAN activities, thus winning recognition and high evaluation from other member countries.
He noted that it has shown support for the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), signed in 2002 to prevent conflict and build trust among the parties concerned.
Regarding the Myanmar issue, Việt Nam and other Southeast Asian countries are making efforts via existing mechanisms, especially ASEAN, to minimise risks. Việt Nam has strongly advocated the peaceful settlement of disputes and is now an important pillar of the bloc. It is promoting cooperation with other ASEAN countries in terms of both economy and security - defence to guarantee regional peace and stability.
It is also actively working with regional countries to secure benefits and progress for ASEAN members while reinforcing ties between the association and partners such as Japan, the Republic of Korea, Australia, and India.
Việt Nam has established itself as one of the leading countries in enhancing cooperation and resolving challenges facing ASEAN, including the Myanmar and East Sea issues, the COVID-19 pandemic, and other non-traditional security threats, according to Collins.
He held that the country has also made considerable contributions to the identification of the common development targets and orientations of ASEAN, especially in the economy.
The ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting held in Việt Nam in 2001 adopted the Hà Nội Declaration on Narrowing Development Gap for Closer ASEAN Integration, which specified four priority economic areas – infrastructure construction, human resources development, information and communication technology, and regional economic integration, which are critical to boosting ASEAN economic integration, bringing about benefits to member countries, creating a shield for trade and investment, and reducing members’ dependence on non-ASEAN countries.
As superpowers are competing for influence in the region, the identification of the four above-mentioned economic priorities holds an important and indispensable role in the economic development of not only Việt Nam and Malaysia, but also other ASEAN countries, the expert went on.
He said with its commitments and capabilities to realise them in some fields like digital economy, human resources, green economy, food security, supply chains, and others, Việt Nam is currently well-positioned to become a leading country in promoting not only its own interests but also the common interests and demand of ASEAN.
The country will continue playing an important role in guaranteeing stability, peace, and common interests of ASEAN in the time ahead, Collins added. — VNS