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India-Vietnam ties factor of peace in Asia-Pacific: PM

Wednesday October 12, 2011 02:16:10 PM, IANS

New Delhi: Prime Minister Manmohan Singh Wednesday called India's strategic partnership with Vietnam "a factor of peace, stability and development" in the Asia-Pacific region and that it stood "on its own merits".

Manmohan Singh's remarks at a joint press conference with visiting Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang after their delegation level talks comes as a counter to a view among strategic thinkers that the two nations are getting closer to counter China with whom both have had strained relations over territorial disputes.

"A strong India-Vietnam relations is a factor of peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region. It stands on its own merits. The President's visit has give a new thrust and direction to this partnership," he said.

The prime minister also noted that India and Vietnam were maritime neighbours in the region and the two faced security challenges from terrorism, piracy and natural disasters.

"We have to work together to ensure the safety and security of vital sea lanes of communication and continue exchanges in this fields in the future," he said.

Though Manmohan Singh did not mention the Chinese objections to India carrying out oil exploration in Vietnamese waters in the South China Sea, the reference to the maritime security, particularly the sea lanes of communication, is a reiteration of the Indian stand that freedom of navigation in the South China Sea or East Sea, as Vietnamese call it, should be maintained.

The prime minister also referred to the bilateral biennial security dialogue between the home ministries of India and Vietnam and said the extradition treaty the two signed during this visit would "provide legal and institutional basis" for the cooperation.







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