Vietnam envoy pitches for real code of conduct in South China Sea (Interview)

The Special Commemorative Summit is poised to open a new chapter in the history of India-ASEAN relations. With India and ASEAN emerging as the fastest growing region in the world, there are enormous possibilities for expanding and diversifying this mutually energising relationship across the spectrum.
In this interview with Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India and World, Vietnam’s Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh argues that given India’s close historical and cultural connections and its growing economy, India should play a bigger role in the extended Indo-Pacific region. To fructify this huge potential, enhancing connectivity will be a potential game-changer in taking India-ASEAN strategic partnership to new heights.
Amid the churn in the South China Sea, the Vietnamese envoy also pitches for a real and abiding enforceable code of conduct and argues that the sea of Southeast Asia is an open sea of all countries, including India.

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With China on mind, India’s Navy Chief steps up Vietnam connect

India’s Navy Chief Admiral Sunil Lanba is on a five-day visit to Vietnam to step up defence and security cooperation with the South Asian nation which has emerged as a pivot of India’s Act East policy.
Given the fast changing geo-strategic dynamics in the Asia-Pacific region, marked by China’s increased assertiveness in the region, the Navy Chief’s visit is being watched closely in Beijing.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s landmark visit to Hanoi in September 2016 was transformational and placed the expanding India-Vietnam ties on a new footing. During his visit, the Indian leader pledged $500 million in Lines of Credit for a host of development and defence-related projects in the Southeast Asian nation.

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India, Malaysia unite against terror, bat for freedom of navigation

Ushering in a new phase in their reinvigorated partnership as key players in the emerging Asian order, India and Malaysia have signed seven agreements across the spectrum, and vowed to fight terror and radicalization of youth. In a message to China, the two countries decided to work proactively to promote freedom of navigation in the South China Sea, the site of territorial disputes between China and some Southeast Asian countries.
The agreements, some of which relate to recognition of each other’s educational degrees and palm oil production research, and the unmistakable focus on security cooperation, which followed talks between India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and visiting Malaysian Prime Minister Najib Razak in New Delhi on April 1, marked a qualitatively new high in relations between the two countries.
The most important among pacts inked in the presence of the two PMs was the proposed development of a urea and ammonia manufacturing plant in Malaysia and off-take of existing surplus urea from Malaysia to India. The project is expected to cost US$2 billion, with a capacity to produce 2.5 million tonnes per year and meant for catering to India’s market.
Above all, the Malaysian leader’s visit has imparted a new momentum to strategic partnership between the two countries. “We are leaders in the new emerging order in Asia and the world. Let us continue to work together to build a future based on stability, prosperity and understanding as the centre of the globe moves inexorably to East,” said Mr Razak in an article ahead of his visit to India.

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Vietnam wants India to play a more active role in Southeast Asia: Envoy

It’s a milestone year in India-Vietnam relations as the two strategic partners celebrate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations. In this wide-ranging interview with Manish Chand, Editor-in-Chief, India Writes Network, Vietnam’s ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh outlines a vibrant picture of the trajectory of this crucial relationship and underlines the need for a more active role by India in Southeast Asia and the extended region. The envoy also underscored that the burgeoning India-Vietnam relations is not targeted at China or any third country and stressed on peaceful resolution of the South China Sea dispute through dialogue.

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Modi’s Japan journey: Why Delhi-Tokyo strategic connect matters

The Tokyo-Delhi connect is set to acquire a deeper strategic dimension with the hoped-for signing of a transformational nuclear deal and a host of initiatives to enhance maritime security cooperation during the November 10-12 visit of India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Japan. The visit will be not only closely scanned in New Delhi and Tokyo, but most importantly in Beijing, which continues to nurture containment anxieties and has already red-flagged its concerns over a possible Delhi-Tokyo axis on the South China Sea.
Mr Modi will spend barely 48 hours in Tokyo, but much will be accomplished during his annual summit meeting with his Japanese counterpart Shinzo Abe in Tokyo on November 11. If the latest indications are anything to go by, the visit will see the transformative moment as Japan moves beyond years of strategic vacillation to sign the much-awaited nuclear deal that will pitchfork the India-Japan ties on another plane.
In many ways, the current geo-strategic and geo-economic situation have created a conjunction of India’s Japan Moment and Japan’s India moment. Mr Modi and Mr Abe, who have famously forged a personal chemistry, are ideal partners to propel this partnership to new heights.
The nuclear issue is the last albatross holding back the full potential of this mutually fecundating relationship, and if the nuclear deal is signed in Tokyo, expect a major upsurge in India-Japan relations across the spectrum and an added ballast to the narrative of an inclusive Asian Century.

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Amid souring China ties and South China Sea churn, PM Modi to visit Vietnam

Amid China’s hardening posture on the South China Sea ruling by an international tribunal, senior officials of India and Vietnam have held strategic talks in New Delhi to bolster their military and economic relations, which could pave the way for a visit by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Hanoi early next month.
The volatile situation around the South China Sea in the wake of The Hague tribunal’s ruling rejecting Beijing’s “historic claims” over the disputed water body and the so-called nine-dash line figured prominently in discussions.
The discussions in New Delhi saw a striking convergence of perspectives between the two countries on the South China Sea issue.
The visit by PM Modi to Hanoi will take place at a time when the India-China relations are under strain following China’s stalling of India’s bid for the NSG membership and India denying extension of visas to three Chinese journalists working for state-run Xinhua news agency. Mr Modi’s visit to Hanoi, as and when it happens, will be closely watched in Beijing, which has resented growing proximity between New Delhi and Hanoi, and sees India as engaged in a containment game with the US, Japan, Australia and friendly ASEAN countries.

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