Sunday, 18/2/2018
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc attended the 25th Commemorative Summit of ASEAN-India Partnership
14/2/2018 16:58' Send Print
Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc holds talks with the Prime Minister of India. Photo: VNA

With the theme "Sharing Value, Common Destiny," leaders of ASEAN countries and India maintained that the ASEAN-India partnership over the past time achieved positive results in various fields. The leaders appreciated efforts and innovations made by Vietnam as a coordinator of ASEAN-India relations to promote bilateral cooperation. In its history, ASEAN has had good relations with India. In 2017, the two sides commemorated the 25th anniversary of the establishment of the ASEAN-India dialogue relations, 15th anniversary of high-level mechanism formation, and 5th anniversary of strategic partnership. Over the past years, ASEAN and India partnership has continued to develop comprehensively on all three political-security, economic, social and cultural pillars. The two sides have set up 30 dialogue mechanisms at high level and 7 ministerial meetings to expedite the Action Plan for 2016-2020, implemented 67 out of 130 measures, including 18 political security measures, 22 economic measures, 20 social and cultural measures and 7 multisectoral measures. This ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit was a good opportunity for Vietnam to maintain its relations with India, demonstrating its active role in coordinating ASEAN-India relations.

At the summit, leaders of ASEAN and India held a dialogue session themed "Maritime Cooperation and Security." The two sides pledged to continue dialogue and cooperation through regional mechanisms to maintain peace, stability, security, safety, freedom of navigation and aviation; uphold the rule of law and settle disputes by peaceful means in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS). On this occasion, ASEAN and India affirmed their support for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and early conclusion of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea (COC).

Speaking at the meeting, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc proposed three major focus. The first is trade and investment cooperation, regarding this as a driving force for ASEAN-India ties. The second is enhancing connectivity as a key factor, ensuring inter-regional sustainability. The third is strengthening cooperation for peace and stability in the Indian and Pacific Oceans in response to security challenges, both traditional and non-traditional.

Regarding marine cooperation and security, the Prime Minister urged ASEAN and India to strengthen coordination and respect law, including the 1982 UNCLOS while stepping up cooperation to build trust through taking joint measures to deal with maritime challenges and focusing on developing a green sea-based economy. He called for the early completion of the marine transportation agreement and information sharing in marine policies as well as cooperation in the inter-regional Indian Ocean and Pacific Ocean.

At the conclusion of the meeting, ASEAN and India leaders adopted the Delhi Declaration, which sets out vision and direction for comprehensively promoting ASEAN-India Strategic Partnership in the coming years.

While in India Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc met with Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, had talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, attended bilateral meetings and contacts with Cambodian Prime Minister Samdech Techo Hun Sen, Indonesian President Joko Widodo, Singaporean Prime Minister Lee Hsien Loong, Thai Prime Minister Prayut Chan-o-cha and Myanmar State Advisor Aung San Suu Kyi and compared notes on measures and orientations to further promote bilateral ties.

At the meeting with Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, the two leaders expressed their satisfaction at the strong development of the traditional friendship and multifaceted cooperation between the two countries, especially since the elevation of Vietnam-India relations to Comprehensive Economic Partnership in September 2016. The two sides also highly appreciated the organization of many meaningful and practical activities during the 2017 Friendship Year, celebration of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations and the 10th anniversary of the implementation of the Strategic Partnership which contributed to raising awareness of the people on bilateral relations, promoting cooperation in specific fields, and affirming continued co-operation and mutual support in multilateral frameworks.

At the talks with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the two sides agreed to upgrade two-way trade turnover to US$15 billion by 2020. After talks, the two Prime Ministers witnessed the signing of cooperation agreements, including a Memorandum of Understanding between the Ministry of Information and Communications of Vietnam and the Ministry of Information and Broadcasting of India in the field of information and broadcasting, and the Agreement between the National Remote Sensing Department of Vietnam and the Space Research Organization of India on the “Establishment of tracking and data reception station and data processing facility.”

Vietnam-India relations have seen important developments, especially after being upgraded to comprehensive partnership and bilateral visit exchanges by senior leaders of the two countries. Bilateral economic and trade ties between Vietnam and India have continued to grow. Two-way trade has increased over the years since the two countries established the strategic partnership. India is now one of the 10 largest trading partners of Vietnam. The bilateral trade turnover has averaged 16% per annum in the period of 2008-2013. Trade turnover in 2017 was estimated at US$7.5 billion, a sharp increase of 37.7% compared to 2016, and higher than $5.4 billion in 2016. By the end of November 2017, the total registered capital of India’s 168 investment projects in 24 out of 63 provinces of Vietnam reached $756 million, ranking 28 out of 126 countries and territories investing in Vietnam. Vietnam currently has invested in seven projects in India with a total registered capital of US$6.15 million, mainly in the areas of distribution of animal feed and construction materials, and export of cosmetics and informatics products.

As a signatory of the ASEAN-India Investment Agreement within the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement signed on 12 November 2014, Vietnam and India have promoted small and medium-sized enterprises through the establishment of the "Vietnam-India Entrepreneurship Development Center,” (VIEDC) and the signing of the MOU on Small and Micro Enterprise Cooperation. In addition, the two sides have boosted cooperation in education, culture, sports and tourism, agriculture, energy, science and technology, gaining practical effects. The two sides have worked closely together and supported one another at multilateral forums, especially within the United Nations. As a coordinator of ASEAN-India relations for 2015-2018, Vietnam supports India to implement the "Act East" policy, regional connectivity initiatives, and assist the development of the Cambodia-Laos-Myanmar-Vietnam Subregion, and the Mekong Ganga Cooperation (MGC). The visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit and the 69th Republic Day of India have contributed to promoting and uplifting the Vietnam-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to a higher and deeper level, demonstrating Vietnam’s role as a coordinator of ASEAN-India relations.

Thuy Linh