NATIONAL

Vietnam invites India to explore energy in South China Sea

Congress president Sonia Gandhi and vice-president Rahul Gandhi with Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Chairperson, National Assembly of Vietnam, in New Delhi on Saturday.— Photo: PTIPTI  

Highlighting India’s importance as a regional power, Vietnam has urged New Delhi to intensify economic engagement with Southeast Asia.

Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Chairwoman of National Assembly of Vietnam and member of Standing Committee of Politburo, Communist Party of Vietnam, on Saturday extended invitation to India to explore energy in South China Sea and supported India’s multilateral membership plans.

“Vietnam supports ‘Act East’ policy of India which is aimed at energising India’s ties with Southeast Asia. In this context, Vietnam can serve as India’s bridge to Southeast Asia,” Ms. Ngan said. “India is welcome to invest in the energy sector of Vietnam and conduct joint exploration in South China Sea.” The comment from Ms. Ngan, who is the first woman head of the National Assembly of Vietnam, is significant as South China Sea has been at the centre of a protracted international dispute involving China and several countries of Southeast Asia, including Vietnam.

The Permanent Court of Arbitration (PCA) on July 12 had given a verdict that demanded freedom of navigation should be upheld in the region.

Ms. Ngan enthusiastically supported India’s campaign for a permanent membership of the Security Council.

Ms. Ngan’s visit witnessed conclusion of several bilateral agreements such as the civil nuclear agreement.