India and Vietnam share a vision of a rules-based order in the strategic Indo-Pacific which includes the South China Sea and seek peaceful resolution of disputes in the region, President Ram Nath Kovind said Tuesday, amidst China’s increasing assertiveness in the area.
Addressing the National Assembly of Vietnam, Kovind, on his first visit to the ASEAN region as the President, said Vietnam is pivotal to India’s “Act East” policy.
“We are both ancient maritime nations and are stake-holders in the commerce, security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region. Above all, we share the same values,” he said.
India’s association with Vietnam has many aspects that include robust business, political and people-to-people bonds, he said.
“Vietnam and India share a vision for the Indo-Pacific region, of which the South China Sea is a critical component. We share a vision of a rules-based order that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity, ensures freedom of navigation and over-flight, as well as un-impeded commerce,” Kovind said.
India looks forward to enhanced bilateral cooperation with Vietnam in the maritime domain, he said.
“India offers a cooperation model that does not require its friends to make choices but rather expands choices and expands opportunities for all; that opens not one but many roads,” the President said.
“They remain inspirations for not just Vietnam and India but for the entire Asian continent and the global community. The coming year once again links these two remarkable personalities, and unites our countries,” Kovind said.
“The values of liberty, freedom and integrity that Gandhiji and President Ho Chi Minh espoused are rooted in our shared history a history of scholarship and mutual learning, and of abiding Buddhist and Hindu spiritual connections,” Kovind said.
President Kovind said that India believes in development that is people-centric, that adds value to rather than adds a burden to local communities.
The President also spoke about technology, India’s start-up eco-system and space programme.
“India will be happy to share its developmental experiences with Vietnam as per your country’s priorities,” he said.
He said that the challenge of climate change poses a danger to all human-kind.
Coastal nations such as India and Vietnam feel the effects of climate change more than others, he said as he underlined the need of pushing towards renewable energy.
“Beyond our region, India and Vietnam remain committed to cooperation in areas of emerging risk such as cyber-security, and in multilateral organisations,” he said.