ASEAN and India are well positioned to further strengthen their strategic partnership in the 21 st century, Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and visiting Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj said at the third roundtable seminar on the ASEAN-India network of think tanks which opened in Hanoi on August 25.

The two officials noted that in today’s age of globalisation, the interests of ASEAN and India have become increasingly interconnected, and the next decade will be of particular significance as ASEAN becomes a fully-fledged Community and India further manifests itself as a world power.

In his speech, Deputy PM and FM Minh urged ASEAN and India to make mutual cooperation a priority in order to ensure an open, comprehensive and sustainable framework for peace and stability in the Asian region.

He emphasised that as the ASEAN-India development and integration is closely associated with the East Sea and the Indian Ocean, bilateral collaboration should focus more on safeguarding maritime safety, security and freedom; settling territorial disputes peacefully in line with international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

ASEAN would like to see India continue backing the full realisation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and the timely finalisation of the Code of Conduct in the East Sea, Deputy Prime Minister Minh said.

Minh encouraged both sides to continue working closely together in response to common challenges, primarily maritime security and safety, anti-terrorism and cyber security. He suggested they maintain their close association at international forums, such as the United Nations Organisation, the World Trade Organisation and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Reviewing the past two decades, Deputy PM Minh said the transformation of the ASEAN – India relationship from dialogue partners in the early days to a strategic partnership in 2012 was timed perfectly and reflected the ongoing globalisation of sustainable development. Both sides jointly aspire to a region of peace and stability and look forward to a new period of development, including the acceleration of economic restructuring and reforms, he added.

The two-day event will focus on economic integration and cooperation, infrastructure linkages and investment cooperation between ASEAN and India.-VNA