Vietnam today pitched for India’s greater presence in South East Asia politically and economically.

Welcoming India’s commitment and engagement with ASEAN, Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh said “we all want to see more of India’s presence in South-east Asia, not only politically, but also economically.”

“India”, he said, “has a formidable presence in the Indo-Pacific by virtue of its size, its economy and its willingness to assume a greater role on the world stage.”

Addressing a gathering at a leading think-tank Indian Council of World Affairs, Mr. Binh Minh referred to territorial disputes between China and a number of countries straddling South China sea and East China sea and stressed on freedom of navigation in the area which Beijing views as its own backyard.

Mr. Binh Minh welcomed India’s stand opposing use of force to settle territorial disputes in the region and said East China sea, with its natural resources like oil and fisheries, is of “utmost importance” to “global commons” as is the sovereignty of countries in the region.

With a more active India in cooperation with ASEAN, “we can dream of a vast Indo-Pacific with strong linkages, efficient connectivity and after all, with shared prosperity and peace,” he said.

He said India’s ‘Look East’ policy has played a constructive role in ASEAN though security initiatives and economic cooperation and expressed the desire to work closely with it in tapping potentials between ASEAN and India.