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Asean leaders arrive, PM Modi holds talks with Myanmar and Vietnam

The meeting between PM Modi and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi came nearly a month after India and Myanmar inked an agreement on restoration of normalcy and development of the Rakhine state.

india Updated: Jan 24, 2018 23:56 IST
Jayanth Jacob
Jayanth Jacob
New Delhi
Narendra Modi,ASEAN,Aung San Suu Kyi
Prime Minister Narendra Modi with State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi at Hyderabad House in New Delhi on Wednesday 24.(Mohd Zakir/HT Photo)

In the backdrop of the tenuous security situation in South China Sea, India and Vietnam decided to step up their maritime coopertion — the lead theme of the summit with ten south east Asian countries — for which nine leaders have arrived to a rousing welcome in the national capital on Wednesday.

In his bilateral meeting between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi, two leaders discussed follow up on the key decisions taken during his visit to that country . The developmental cooperation in Rakhaine state, where outbreak of violence caused hundreds of thousands of Rohingya Muslims to flee to neighbouring Bangladesh, is something two sides are working on the visit of foreign secretary S Jaishankar to Myanmar in December 2017.

In his meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, the first to arrive for the India-Asean summit marking country’s 25 years of partnership with the south east Asian countries, Modi discussed the maritime cooperation and defence ties. The countries signed two Memoradum of Understanding in the filed of information and broadcasting and space cooperation.

“Long standing traditional & strategic partnership! PM @narendramodi met with Vietnamese PM Nguyễn Phúc. Discussed cooperation in trade and investment, defence, maritime & other areas”, external affairs ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar said in a tweet.

Vietnam is one the claimants of the South China Sea, of which more than 90% is claimed by China. Other South East Asian countries such as the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei also have overlapping claims to the waters of South China sea, where China takes an aggressive position on issues of territorial disputes. China doesn’t take kindly to the growing cooperation between India and Vietnam. China recently slammed Vietnam for inviting India for exploration in the South China Sea, saying Beijing is opposed to any arrangement which infringes upon its rights.

According to Indian officials maritime cooperation is an area of key focus in the summit. Maritime cooperation and security is the theme of the summit’s retreat, too.

Implementation arrangement between ISRO, and National Remote Sensing Department of Vietnam for establishment of tracking and data reception station and data processing facility in Vietnam under Asean India Space Cooperation.

This would define the framework and conditions of cooperation for establishment of facility to provide Indian remote sensing satellite data over Asean region to enable remote sensing applications, which include natural resources management, ocean development and disaster management by Asean member states.

After the meeting between Modi and the Myanmar leader, Raveesh Kumar tweeted, “The two leaders had a productive discussion on intensifying bilateral cooperation, including follow up on key decisions taken during PM’s visit to Myanmar in September 2017.”

The meeting came nearly a month after India and Myanmar inked an agreement on restoration of normalcy and development of the Rakhine state, and days after Bangladesh and Myanmar agreed on the repatriation of Rohingyas.

Signed during foreign secretary S Jaishankar’s visit to Myanmar, the pact was the first government to government agreement by Myanmar with a cooperation partner focused on socio-economic development and livelihood initiatives in the Rakhine state. A pact to boost investments in each other’s country was signed after the meeting between Modi and Rodrigo Duterte, president of the Philippines.

All the 10 Asean leaders will also be the chief guests at the Republic Day parade.

First Published: Jan 24, 2018 22:41 IST