The ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit to mark 20 years of dialogue relations is an important step for stronger and more effective cooperation between the two sides – in their interest as well as for peace, stability and development in the region.

Responding to questions on December 21 from a Vietnam News Agency correspondent on the outcomes of the summit, Deputy Foreign Minister Pham Quang Vinh said leaders of ASEAN member states and India agreed on the significance of the dialogue relations and spoke highly of the great achievements the two sides have made in the last 20 years.

During the period, bilateral trade between India and ASEAN increased 25-fold, reaching nearly 75 billion USD in 2011, far exceeding the target of 70 billion USD for 2012, he said.

In terms of politics and security, the two sides share the aspiration for a peaceful, stable, safe and cooperative environment in the region, Vinh added.

The summit highly valued the results of bilateral cooperation and India ’s important contributions to building an ASEAN Community, the group’s prioritised targets and the increase in connectivity to cope with common challenges in the region, said the Deputy FM.

The leaders agreed to raise ASEAN-India relations to a strategic partnership level, and adopted the Vision Statement of the summit to orient their ties in all fields in the coming decades, which is the most important outcome of the summit, Vinh said.

On the basis of the vision, the leaders put forth specific orientations for cooperation in each field.

Regarding politics and security, they agreed to strive for a peaceful and prosperous Asia .

In terms of economics, ASEAN and India will fully exploit and tap their economic-trade cooperation potential.

In response to a question about the Vietnamese delegation’s contributions to the Summit , Vinh reaffirmed what PM Nguyen Tan Dung said in his speech at the plenary session. He said the PM highlighted Vietnam ’s consistent policy of attaching importance to and support the lifting of ASEAN-India ties to a strategic partnership level, further intensifying and deepening ASEAN–India relations in all fields.

A request was raised for India to back ASEAN and China’s full implementation of the Joint Statement marking the 10th anniversary of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC), and support ASEAN to implement its Six-Point Principle on the East Sea to ensure the settlement of disputes by peaceful means in line with international law, in particular the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

On Vietnam-India relations, Vinh said that during bilateral talks on December 21 on the sidelines of the Summit , Vietnamese PM Nguyen Tan Dung and his counterpart Manmohan Singh agreed to continue advancing relations in all areas, especially in the five key pillars agreed by the two sides’ high-ranking officials.

The first two pillars agree to further intensify close ties and trust in bilateral political relations to raise economic cooperation and increase two-way trade to 7 billion USD in 2015, Vinh elaborated.

The other three pillars consent to bilateral cooperation in security and defence, science and technology, culture, education and training - especially in human resources training and cultural exchanges, he added.-VNA