India and Vietnam on Friday agreed to expand bilateral cooperation for a free and open Indo-Pacific in line with the vision for the region by New Delhi and the 10-nation ASEAN.
Ways to enhance cooperation in the Indo-Pacific figured prominently at the 11th round of Political Consultations and the eighth strategic dialogue between the foreign ministries of the two countries.
The Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) said the two sides agreed to enhance their bilateral cooperation in line with India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) and the ASEAN's Outlook on Indo-Pacific to achieve shared security, prosperity and growth for all in the region.
At the East Asia summit in Bangkok in 2019, Prime Minister Narendra Modi proposed setting up the IPOI to conserve and sustainably use the maritime domain and to make meaningful efforts to create a safe and secure maritime domain.
Since then, several countries came out in its support. The ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) is a major stakeholder in the Indo-Pacific.
The 10 member countries of ASEAN are Indonesia, Malaysia, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, Brunei, Vietnam, Laos, Myanmar and Cambodia.
The ties between India and ASEAN have been on an upswing in the last few years with the focus being on ramping up cooperation in the areas of trade and investment as well as security and defence.
The virtual dialogue was held between Riva Ganguly Das, Secretary (East) in the MEA, and Vice Foreign Minister Nguyen Quoc Dzung of Vietnam.
"Both sides reviewed the recent developments in India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership guided by the 'joint vision for peace, prosperity and people' adopted by the prime ministers of India and Vietnam during their virtual summit in December 2020 and the plan of action for 2021-2023 signed by their foreign ministers," the MEA said.
It said in a statement that both sides also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest, especially in the context of the COVID-19 pandemic, and explored new opportunities for partnership to support each other's economic revival.
"They expressed satisfaction over the sustained momentum in their multifaceted bilateral relations, despite the disruptions of the COVID-19 pandemic, with frequent high-level engagements through virtual platform," the MEA said.
"They also discussed future cooperation agenda, including high-level exchanges and celebrations to mark the 50th anniversary of India-Vietnam Diplomatic Relations in 2022," it said.
The MEA said both sides expressed satisfaction over their close coordination at multilateral forums, including at the UN Security Council, where both India and Vietnam are concurrently serving as non-permanent members.
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