Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung speaks at the 10th Delhi Dialogue (Source: VNA)

New Delhi (VNA) – Vietnamese Deputy Minister of Foreign Affairs Nguyen Quoc Dung highlighted the role of maritime connectivity between the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India at the 10th Delhi Dialogue on July 19.

Addressing the event, Deputy FM Dung emphasised the long-standing maritime links between ASEAN member countries and India, as well as the role of maritime shipping routes through ASEAN and India in international trade. 

Maritime cooperation has offered opportunities and challenges for both sides, he said.

Maritime connectivity is one of the key areas that the two sides need to take advantage of in order to strengthen their economic and trade cooperation, Dung said, proposing they spare no effort to conclude negotiations on the ASEAN-India maritime transportation agreement. 

ASEAN and India should strengthen and develop maritime infrastructure, said the Deputy FM, including hard infrastructure such as seaport systems, logistics and transport; and soft infrastructure like policies, rules, and regulations to connect the transport of goods and relevant services.

He underlined the need to preserve the marine environment alongside economic development. 

The Deputy FM applauded the results of the second ASEAN-India seminar on blue marine economy, co-chaired by India and Vietnam, in New Delhi on July 18, following the first in Vietnam in November 2017.

Dung and others from ASEAN member countries and India emphasised the need to maintain marine security and safety as a prerequisite for both sides to develop their maritime economies. He specified that countries involved need to ensure the principles on freedom of navigation and aviation, respect international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), while also strengthening cooperation to tackle transnational challenges such as pirates, human trafficking, and weapon and drug smuggling.

The Delhi Dialogue is held annually to discuss measures to implement the ASEAN-India strategic partnership. The 2018 dialogue saw more than 200 delegates, including ministers, government officials, policymakers, scholars, business leaders, and organisation representatives from both sides. Governors of India’s northeastern states were also present at the event to promote relations between the region and ASEAN.

The Delhi Dialogue focused discussions on a series of issues such as the role of India’s northeastern provinces in cooperation with ASEAN countries; ASEAN-India partnership and the role of marine cooperation in bilateral affiliation; and collaboration in trade, investment, technology, e-commerce, support for small- and medium-sized enterprises, tourism, and construction of smart cities.-VNA