Speaker of the Lok Sabha (House of Representatives) of India Om Birla (R) at an interview with Vietnam News Agency correspondent (Photo: VNA)
New Delhi (VNA)
– Vietnam is one of the major
pillars in India’s Act East Policy and an important factor helping India
strengthen partnership with the ASEAN, said Speaker of the Lok Sabha (House of
Representatives) of India Om Birla.
Granting an interview
to a Vietnam News Agency correspondent in New Delhi on the occasion of Vietnamese
National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue’s official visit to India from
December 15-19, Birla underlined that the Vietnam-India 50-year ties have
been developed on a firm foundation of cultural and civilisational connections
as well as strong mutual trust and understanding.
"Over the last 49 to 50 years, our relationship has
grown from strength to strength- covering diverse areas of cooperation, such as
trade and investment, defence, development partnership, cultural cooperation
and people to people exchange," he said, adding that the elevation of ties to comprehensive strategic partnership
in 2016 has helped further consolidate the two countries' close partnership, and has paved the way for future cooperation.
He said he believes that the Vietnamese top legislator’s
visit will add momentum to India and Vietnam's tradition of maintaining close parliamentary cooperation.
According to the Indian legislative leader, over the last two years, the world has been facing unprecedented disruptions brought about by the COVID-19 pandemic, and during those difficult times, India and Vietnam have stood by each other, supplying critical medicines and equipment to support their fight against the pandemic. He added that the two Parliaments also played an important role, guiding and giving direction to these efforts.
Regarding cooperation between the two countries, Birla said
that in the framework of the Mekong–Ganga Cooperation, India has implemented several Quick Impact Projects, building community level infrastructure, which are directly benefiting the people of Vietnam.
He went on to say that many Vietnamese students have benefited from scholarships to study in India, and have contributed to bringing the two countries closer, adding that he hopes more students would come to India
utilizing the 1000 PhD fellowships offered to ASEAN countries.
"In coming times,
keeping with the spirit of “Act East Policy”, we also hope to enhance
both physical and digital connectivity with Vietnam," Birla said.
He said that India and Vietnam share common
long-term interest in maintaining peace, stability and development in the
Indo-Pacific region, which has been shown in the joint vision for peace,
prosperity and people that was adopted in 2020.
Asked about what Vietnam and India should do to maintain peace, stability
and prosperity in Asia and Indo-Pacific, as well as in the South China Sea, the legislative leader said Vietnam and India have an abiding interest in maintaining peace, stability and development in the Indo-Pacific region, which is also reflected in the “Joint Vision for Peace, Prosperity and People” adopted by the two countries in December 2020, when both Prime Ministers participated in the Virtual Summit.
The two countries also share the fundamental principles of respect for international law and rules-based order, adding to the factor of stability in the Indo-Pacific region, he said.
"Therefore, both countries must
continue to strengthen their partnership, bilaterally, as well as through ASEAN
framework and other multilateral mechanisms," he said./.