Vietnam a crucial factor in boosting ASEAN-India relations: Indian scholar hinh anh 1Prof. Dr. Rajaram Panda from the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) (Photo: VNA)

New Delhi (VNA) – Vietnam is an important factor in promoting relations between India and ASEAN, as it has a special relationship with India, which is reflected in deepening bilateral relationship between the two countries in all aspects, an Indian scholar has affirmed.

Prof. Dr. Rajaram Panda from the Indian Council of World Affairs (ICWA) under the Indian government made the remarks in an interview granted to India-based Vietnam News Agency’s correspondent on the occasion of the ongoing 37th ASEAN Summit and related meetings.

Regarding Vietnam's role in ASEAN and in the relations between the bloc and powers, Panda said Vietnam has taken on a good role as the ASEAN Chairmanship in 2020.

The Southeast Asian nation not only effectively controlled the COVID-19 pandemic in a timely manner, but also shared its experiences with other countries in the work, he said, noting this shows that Vietnam is a responsible country in the global political arena.

For the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP), he said there is not any possibility that India will change its decision to join the agreement.

There have been a lot of debates and exchange of views among Indian analysts and policymakers about whether to uphold or reverse the stance, but it is unlikely that the Indian government will change its decision unless issues related to the East Asian country’s economic interests and the trade imbalance are solved, he noted.

India will also have an unfavourable trade balance ahead of most ASEAN countries if it joins the agreement because the Indian government is responsible for protecting its domestic production industry, he said.

For these reasons, Panda said he does not see any possibility that India will change its stance on the agreement during the fourth RCEP Summit, and even in the coming time, if the economic benefits of this country are not guaranteed./.