MEA Secretary (East) Vijay Thakur Singh
MEA Secretary (East) Vijay Thakur Singh

India, Vietnam believe in freedom of navigation: MEA

ANI | Updated: Nov 20, 2018 19:47 IST

Hanoi [Vietnam], Nov 20 (ANI): Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) Secretary (East) Vijay Thakur Singh on Tuesday said at a presser that India and Vietnam share the view that there should be freedom of navigation, over-flight and unimpeded economic interaction in the disputed South China Sea, while adding that India has stakes in the region.
Answering a question asked by ANI, Thakur said, "As far as India is concerned, we do see a lot of our trade going through the South China Sea. Therefore, we have stakes in the peace in that area. We also feel that all the issues that are there should be resolved without resorting to force and they should be resolved in accordance with international law, in particular, The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and we also say that there is the common position of both Vietnam and India is that there should be freedom of navigation, over-flight, and unimpeded economic interaction. There was a convergence of views by both India and Vietnam on this issue."
She has earlier stated, "On South China Sea, there was convergence of views of ensuring freedom of navigation and over-flight and resolution of disputes in a peaceful manner in accordance with international law notably the UNCLOS of 1982," while highlighting talks held between President Ram Nath Kovind and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Phu Trong during their meeting at the Presidential Palace.
Apart from underscoring views exchanged on the South China Sea issue, the Secretary (East) also gave a brief outline of President Kovind's first visit to Vietnam.
"The discussions were substantive, fruitful and particularly warm. They discussed bilateral, regional and global issues of mutual concern. Rashtrapati ji congratulated President Nguyen Phu Trong on his elections by the national assembly with an overwhelming majority as the President of Vietnam," she said.
"Both the leaders expressed their commitment to continue high-level political exchanges and deepen engagement in the various elements of the comprehensive strategic partnership especially defense and security cooperation, economic engagement, development partnership, and people-to-people contacts," she said.
Furthermore, both leaders also highlighted the active security and defense cooperation between the two countries including training, UN peace-keeping and maritime security. "They expressed their satisfaction with the implementation of the hundred million dollar line of credit which is being used for high-speed offshore vessels," she said.
"The Vietnamese side thanked India for US $ 500 million line of credit and urged India to continue to assist Vietnam for its requirements in the defense sector. They reiterated their commitment to have the first maritime security dialogue soon and also agreed to further cyber-security cooperation," the Secretary mentioned.
She also stated, "Both leaders reviewed bilateral trade and investment and expressed confidence that 15 billion US dollars which has been set for 2020 will be achieved." Later, during the question and answer round, Thakur delved deeper into the economic ties between the two nations and said, "We have a very good trade. It was only 3.8 billion US dollars in 2010. Today it stands at 12.8 billion US dollars and our target for the trade is 15 billion US dollars for 2020."
"The two leaders also welcomed the existing collaborations and investments by the OVL with Petrovietnam in oil and gas in Vietnam and welcomed tripartite cooperation in this regard," the Secretary said while highlighting trade and investment ties between the Asian countries. "They also concluded that facilitating connectivity between the two countries is vital in promoting trade and business," she said.
Highlighting India's vision for a free and prosperous Indo-Pacific region, she mentioned, "Both leaders reviewed regional peace and security in the context of Asia-Pacific region. President Kovind reiterated India's vision for a free, open, peaceful, prosperous and inclusive Indo-Pacific region based on international law and respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty in which ASEAN centrality and unity is at the core."
"Both leaders agree to cooperate at regional as well as multilateral fora and support each other's candidature at the UNSC non-permanent membership seat elections," the Secretary (East) said. "Both President Kovind and President Phu Trong agreed to work towards an early consensus for the early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism," she said.
"President Kovind expressed our appreciation to Vietnam for their role as a country coordinator in ASEAN during 2015, 2018 when the ASEAN-India commemorative summit took place in New Delhi to mark 25 years of the strong and growing partnership between ASEAN and India," she said while underscoring that four Memoranda of Understanding have been signed in various fields.
President Kovind later met Vietnam's Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in the day, following which a banquet shall be held in his honour. He is slated to emplane for Australia for the second leg of the official trip after the banquet. (ANI)