ASEAN, India celebrate a quarter century of ties

09:27 | 02/03/2018 Cooperation

(VEN) - The leaders of ASEAN and India met on January 25 at a summit in New Delhi to celebrate the 25th anniversary of their relations. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc led a Vietnamese delegation to the event.

asean india celebrate a quarter century of ties
Leaders agreed to further strengthen and deepen the ASEAN-India strategic partnership for mutual benefits

Great progress

Focusing on the summit’s theme: “Shared values, common destiny”, the leaders of ASEAN and India discussed the current situation and prospects of their relationship, and agreed on measures to further promote the strategic partnership between the 10-nation bloc and the south Asian giant.

Reviewing the past 25 years, the leaders acknowledged the great progress of this special relationship. Indian PM Narendra Modi reaffirmed the commitment to assist ASEAN in narrowing the development gap and expand India’s cooperation with the bloc, especially the infrastructure and digital connectivity, in order to ensure effective use of the US$1 billion credit package signed between the two sides.

Representing Vietnam, the coordinator of ASEAN-India relations, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc proposed three major areas of cooperation. First, the two sides should increase cooperation in trade and investment and consider these the driving force of the ASEAN-India strategic partnership. Both sides should take advantage of the Fourth Industrial Revolution, or Industry 4.0, to accelerate development. Second, ASEAN and India should enhance connectivity, including transport and digital connectivity, as well as people-to-people exchanges. Third, the two sides should increase cooperation for peace and stability in the region and cope with security challenges, both traditional and non-traditional.

Wrapping up the summit, the leaders of ASEAN and India adopted the Delhi Declaration, setting directions to boost the bilateral strategic partnership.

In the framework of the summit, PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc and the leaders of ASEAN and India attended receptions hosted by the Indian President and Prime Minister; participated in the launching ceremony of a stamp collection issued to celebrate the 25th anniversary of bilateral dialogue relations; and visited an exhibition presenting 20 paintings by ASEAN and Indian painters.

Bilateral contacts

PM Phuc also had bilateral meetings with Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, Indian PM Narendra Modi, Cambodian PM Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Singaporean PM Lee Hsien Loong, Thai PM Prayut Chan-o-cha and Myanmar State Counselor Aung San Suu Kyi.

At the meeting between PMs Phuc and Modi, the two sides agreed that bilateral trade has grown rapidly and reached nearly US$8 billion in 2017 but remains incommensurate with its potential; and that bilateral investment is still limited. The two leaders asked that the Vietnam-India Joint Sub-Committee on Trade meet as soon as possible to discuss measures to increase bilateral trade to US$15 billion before 2020, including enhancing air and waterway connectivity in order to reduce transportation time and costs, and restricting and gradually eliminating trade barriers to facilitate import, export activities between the two countries.

PM Phuc also met the presentatives of major Indian businesses operating in Vietnam. These include the TATA Group with steel and electricity projects, Larsen & Toubro (L&T) with patrol-boat building and industrial component supply projects; the Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) with oil and gas exploration and extraction projects in Vietnam’s waters; Suzlon Energy Ltd with wind power projects; Adani Green Energy Limited with solar power projects; and vDoIT which plans to develop smart village projects in Vietnamese localities.

PM Phuc affirmed the Vietnamese government’s willingness to create favorable conditions for foreign businesses to operate in Vietnam. He encouraged Indian businesses to invest in Vietnam in fields where India has advantages and Vietnam has demand.

PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc:

We have reasons to believe that ASEAN-India cooperation will be a bright point in the success of the Asia-Pacific Century. Currently, ASEAN and India represent a community of 1.8 billion people with improving living standards and purchasing power, accounting for nearly one fourth of the global population, and gross domestic product totaling nearly US$3.8 trillion, equivalent to the world’s third largest economy. ASEAN and India should cooperate to bring this potential into play in the context of global competition and the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

Nhat Quang