India likes to keep cooperating with Vietnam in oil and gas projects in the East Vietnam Sea, the South Asian country’s foreign minister was quoted as saying on the verified Facebook page of the Vietnamese government.

Vietnamese Minister of Foreign Affairs Pham Binh Minh had a bilateral meeting with his counterpart, Indian Minister of External Affairs Subrahmanyam Jaishankar on Friday, within the framework of a Southeast Asian summit for foreign ministers in Thailand, according to the Facebook page.

The 52nd ASEAN Foreign Ministers’ Meeting (AMM-52) and Related Meetings took place from July 29 to August 3 in Bangkok, where top diplomats from Southeast Asia and some other partners including India, China, Australia and the EU discussed important political, economic, and security issues.

Minister Minh and Minister Jaishankar agreed that their countries’ ties have been positively developing and both should take measures to cement the Vietnam-India comprehensive strategic partnership.

The two countries established a strategic partnership in 2007 before elevating it to the comprehensive strategic partnership in September 2016.   

The two diplomats said that their governments would increase the number of mutual visits at high levels and foster cooperation in trade, investment, agriculture, healthcare, aviation, defense, and security.  

Vietnam and India will boost coordination at multilateral forums, especially in 2020 when Vietnam chairs ASEAN and at a time when both countries are holding a non-permanent seat on the United Nations Security Council.

Vietnam secured approval to be a non-permanent member for the 2020-2021 tenure from 192 out of 193 voting countries and territories during the 73rd session of the United Nations General Assembly in New York in June.  

New Delhi expects to continue cooperation with Hanoi in oil and gas projects in the East Vietnam Sea, Minister Jaishankar said.  

Both sides underlined their stance on the waterway, vowing to maintain peace, stability, freedom and security of navigation, and upholding the principle of settling maritime disputes by peaceful means in line with the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea.

Since early last month, Chinese ships have been encroaching on Vietnam’s Exclusive Economic Zone and Continental Shelf despite repeated opposition from the Southeast Asian country.

Experts have long voiced concerns that China’s coercive moves and escalations are a threat to energy security and freedom of navigation through the East Vietnam Sea, which is believed to sit on rich oil and gas resources.

In issued last month, the U.S. State Department said “China’s repeated provocative actions aimed at the offshore oil and gas development” of relevant states compromised regional energy security and undermined “the free and open Indo-Pacific energy market.”

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