Shailesh Kumar, National Defence
New Delhi, 04 July 2017
Vietnam’s Deputy Prime Minister Pham Binh Minh urged India to take a lead role in supporting efforts to maintain security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in South China Sea. The remark of Vietnam’s deputy PM who is also the foreign minister carries huge weight amid lingering tensions in South China Sea due to China’s aggressive posture of dominance in the backdrop of PCA ruling on South China Sea. Pham Binh Minh was speaking at the 9th edition of Delhi Dialogue in New Delhi on Tuesday.
“ASEAN is India’s gateway into the Pacific region. ASEAN and India’s prosperity depends on the security and stability in Indian and Pacific ocean. We welcome India’s contribution and hope that India will continue to support our efforts to maintain security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation in order to promote peace in South China Sea on the basis of International Law for respect, diplomatic and legal processes including 1982 UN convention on the law of the sea- the DOC and the COC in the future”, said Pham Binh Minh. He also emphasized that “ASEAN will also benefit from India’s experience of settling maritime disputes by peaceful means. India also can help ASEAN to enhance its capacity to address maritime issues”. India and Bangladesh settled their maritime boundary dispute by accepting same tribunal’s ruling and adhering to UNCLAWS, while China did opposite.
External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj also in a veiled message to China said that India’s intermingling with ASEAN countries had happened without any conquest and colonisation. She said in her keynote address in the beginning of Delhi Dialogue here in New Delhi. Her remarks are important in view of ongoing face off at Sikkim border and persisting tensions in South China Sea.
“Charting the course for next 25 year is very opportune. As we celebrate 25 years of partnership and 5 years of strategic partnership, it is indeed opportune to start thinking about the long term future of this partnership”, said Vietnam’s Deputy PM.
He also made following remarks, “25 years of ASEAN- India Partnership is only brief page in the thousand year long history of ties between the people of South East Asia and India. India has left undeliable imprints in South East Asia as a peaceful nation. I welcome Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s affirmations that ASEAN is cornerstone in India’s Act East policy and that we share historical links, geographic proximity, control ties and strategic space”.
“In Asia Pacific East and the ongoing dramatic Geo-political and geo-economic shifts, the region remains the engine of global economic growth but uncertainties and risks linger. Power, competition- traditional and non traditional security challenges are but to name a few. The fourth industrial revolution will transform the world economy a multi-polar world order is taking n a clearer shape when no single country is able to dominate”.
“It is in this world of tremendous change that countries like ours can and need to take up more prominent role in the region and international affairs. ASEAN and India share political, economic and social interest in the region . In that context, we could and need to play more important role in efforts to sustain global and regional peace, stability and development. As the future is unfolding, we do have the reason to be optimistic many focused suggested that this century is the Asia Pacific Century and Asia Pacific will be the global economic centre of gravity. By 2030, India will be the world’s third largest economy and ASEAN as a group will be the fourth largest economy”.
“In the political and security area, ASEAN supports India to play a greater role as a leading power in the Asia Pacific region and in the world. We wish to strengthen our collaboration to effectively respond to emerging challenges”.
“We had developed a master plan for ASEAN connectivity. ASEAN wishes India to be a key partner in implementation of this master plan. The two sides need to actively put in place highway and sea ports projects conclude negotiations on the ASEAN India maritime transport agreement”.
“Connecting Cambolia’s Angkor Wat, Indonesia’s Borobudur, Lao’s, Myanmar’s Bagan, Thailand’s Sukhotie and Vietnam’s My Son to the origin of India’s civilization”.
Delhi Dialogue is being organized by the Ministry of External Affairs in collaboration with the Observer Research Foundation (ORF), Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FICCI), Institute of South Asian Studies (ISAS), Singapore, SAEA Group Research, Singapore, Economic Research Institute for ASEAN and East Asia (ERIA), Jakarta, Institute of Strategic and International Studies (ISIS), Malaysia, Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) and ASEAN-India Centre. It is supported by the Indian Council for Research on International Economic Relations (ICRIER); the Confederation of Indian Industry (CII); the Associated Chambers of Commerce & Industry of India (ASSOCHAM); All India Association of Industries (AIAI), Mumbai; and Indian Chamber of Commerce (ICC), Kolkata.
Shailesh Kumar is an independent journalist with over 15 years of experience in crime, political and defence reporting for leading media brands including Star News, India TV and NewsX. He is the founder editor of defence and security news portal, National Defence.