Vietnam attends 23rd ASEAN-India SOM hinh anh 1Deputy Foreign Minister and head of the Vietnam ASEAN SOM Nguyen Quoc Dung (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) Deputy Foreign Minister and head of the Vietnam ASEAN SOM Nguyen Quoc Dung attended the 23rd ASEAN-India Senior Officials’ Meeting via a videoconference on April 28.

Speaking at the event, Dung expressed his belief that India will soon overcome difficulties and control the COVID-19 situation, while affirming solidarity and willingness to stand side by side with India at this hard time.

He underscored the importance of maritime cooperation to security environment, economic growth, sustainable development of countries and the life of people in the region.

The Vietnamese Deputy Foreign Minister suggested ASEAN and India, which hold important maritime routes and are facing challenges, should enhance close coordination within regional frameworks to promote dialogue, cooperation, trust building and respect for international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, as well as support efforts to build and uphold codes of conduct such as the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East and a Code of Conduct in the East Sea.

He also hoped that India will assist ASEAN in improving capacity and technical cooperation in maritime security and safety, as well as operating efficiency of maritime cooperation mechanisms and frameworks in the region.

He stressed amid the complex and uncertain developments at present, countries need to increase dialogues, cooperation, build trust, respect law, and ensure an environment of peace, security and stability which is conducive to recovery and sustainable growth.

Indian Vice Foreign Minister and head of Indian ASEAN SOM Riva Ganguly Das suggested designating 2022 as ASEAN – India Friendship Year, on the occasion of the 30th anniversary of ASEAN-India dialogue relations and the 10th anniversary of bilateral strategic partnership.

She said both sides should continue working closely together against the COVID-19 pandemic, especially in the sharing of experience, diagnosis technology and treatment, production and distribution of COVID-19 vaccines.

With the 2021-2025 ASEAN-India Plan of Action, both sides agreed to pool resources in priority cooperation fields such as raising two-way trade to 200 billion USD by 2022, enhancing connectivity and cooperation in maritime navigation, science-technology and innovation, digital transformation, diaster prevention and control, climate change response and development gap narrowing.

India pledged to offer scholarships to ASEAN students and allocate a credit package worth 1 billion USD to infrastructre connectivity and development projects.

On regional and global issues, the two sides committed to close coordinate to contribute to the maintenance of peace, security and stability in the region, including maritime security and safety in the East Sea.

India expressed its support for ASEAN’s principle stance on the East Sea issue, and the bloc’s role in promoting dialogue and trust building, ensuring the full and effective implementation of the DOC, and the building of an effective and efficient COC in line with international law and the 1982 UNCLOS.

India wished to foster collaboration with ASEAN on the basis of the ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and the Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI). About the Myanmar situation, India welcomed the results of the ASEAN Leaders’ Meeting on April 24 with the Chairman’s Statement./.