The Bold Voice of J&K

Vietnam wants Modi to raise maritime security issue with China

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modiHanoi: Vietnam has accused China of carrying out activities violating its sovereignty in the disputed South China Sea and hoped Prime Minister Narendra Modi would raise the issue of maritime security with China during his upcoming talks with the Chinese leadership.

“China has carried out activities in Spratly which is violation of our sovereignty in the region,” Directorate of External Information’s Director General Le Van Nghiem told a group of visiting Indian journalists.

India and Vietnam have enjoyed good relations and New Delhi always supported Hanoi whenever China tried to violate Vietnamese sovereignty, especially its strategic island, Spratly, he said.

“We don’t know if the issue of maritime security in the region (Southeast Asia) will be raised in the meeting between Modi and his Chinese counterpart. But if India raises its stand with China it could be beneficial for both Vietnam and India,” Nghiem said when asked about Modi’s scheduled visit to China from May 14 to 16.

China claims almost all of the South China Sea as its part which is hotly contested by Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, Brunei and Taiwan.

Nghiem said India’s state-run ONGC has been carrying out oil exploration in Vietnam waters despite resistance by China.

India had signed a deal with Vietnam to explore for oil in South China Sea – a disputed area between China and Vietnam.

Noting that India can help Vietnam in a tactical manner, he said, “India is our strategic partner. We not only cooperate in the field of trade and business, but also in defence.”

Nghiem said that in the defence and economic sectors the two countries have lot of scope specially weapons and oil.

Hanoi is keen on acquiring the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles from India. When asked about the issue, he said, “Only defence ministry could comment on it.”

Vietnam hopes Prime Minister Modi to undertake an early visit to Hanoi to further boost ties with the strategic nation on the easternmost Indochina Peninsula in Southeast Asia.

“Our government has already extended an invitation to Indian Prime Minister which was accepted by him. We are ready to welcome him any time later this year,” he told reporters who were here on a four-day-long visit to attend the 40th anniversary of 30-year long Vietnam War and its reunification.

In the last one year India and Vietnam witnessed a series of bilateral visits with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung travelling to India in October at the invitation of Modi.

In September, President Pranab Mukherjee visited the strategic nation on a four-day visit. Recently, Lok Sabha Speaker Sumitra Mahajan also visited Vietnam.

Nghiem insisted on having a direct flight between India and Vietnam for giving a boost to tourism and trade.

PTI

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