India to expand maritime accord with Vietnam


India has said it would expand maritime security cooperation with Vietnam amid China’s belligerence in South China Sea and ambitions in the Bay of Bengal.

The two sides also agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in defence, atomic energy, outer space and oil and gas. Four MoUs in the fields of communications, education and trade and investment were signed to take the bilateral agenda forward.

President Ram Nath Kovind while addressing Vietnam Parliament in Hanoi on Tuesday announced that the two countries will hold a bilateral maritime security dialogue early next year, and hinted at increasing port visits by the navies and coast guards of both the countries.

Kovind is currently on a state visit to Vietnam. It is understood that during his meetings, the two sides discussed the South China Sea situation and expanding defence ties, including implementation of defence related $500-m line of credit.

“…India looks forward to enhanced bilateral cooperation in the maritime domain — for instance, through our first bilateral maritime security dialogue to be hosted by Vietnam in early 2019. Maritime security, piracy, and drug trafficking using the oceans are issues of common concern. I am confident that the programme of regular and friendly visits to each other’s ports by naval and coast guard ships from our countries will upgrade cooperation,” Kovind said in his address to Vietnam’s National Assembly in Hanoi on Tuesday.

“Climate change is not the only question mark looming before the Indo-Pacific Region. Vietnam and India share a vision for the Region, of which the South China Sea is a critical component. We share a vision of a rules-based order that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity, ensures freedom of navigation and over-flight, as well as unimpeded commerce. Our shared vision seeks peaceful resolution of disputes, with full respect for legal and diplomatic processes,” Kovind said.

By: ET

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Categories: Geopolitics

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