Hanoi: Establishing a peace and stability for economic prosperity in the Indian Ocean region is a top priority for India's foreign policy, said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday.
Swaraj, who is currently on a four-day two-nation tour of Vietnam and Cambodia, reached met Foreign Minister of Vietnam Pham Binh Minh to hold bilateral talks.
“Deepening our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership! EAM Sushma Swaraj and Foreign Minister of Vietnam Pham Binh Minh led delegation level talks where trade, investment, maritime and defence cooperation were discussed,” tweeted Raveesh Kumar, MEA spokesperson.
Deepening our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership! EAM @SushmaSwaraj and Foreign Minister of Vietnam Pham Binh Minh led delegation level talks where trade, investment, maritime and defence cooperation were discussed. pic.twitter.com/E21RWCp3fZ
— Raveesh Kumar (@MEAIndia) August 28, 2018
"There can be no doubt that the Indian Ocean is at the centre of the emerging ?Age of Asia'...This region is host to the world's busiest waterways and three-quarters of that traffic is headed for destinations beyond our region," Swaraj said while addressing the Third Indian Ocean Conference here.
"As an important trade and energy waterway, carrying half the world's container shipment, one-third of its bulk cargo traffic and two thirds of oil shipments, the Indian Ocean clearly assumes importance well beyond its immediate shores and its littorals," she said.
"Nurturing a climate of peace and stability in this region is therefore an important priority for our foreign policy," the EAM added.
Swaraj emphasised that India and Vietnam are connected not only by the common waters but also by a shared vision for peace and prosperity. Swaraj's comments assume significance in the wake of China increasing its footprints in the Indian Ocean, which figures prominently in President Xi Jinping's ambitious 'One Belt, One Road' initiative to build a new Silk Route.
India is opposed to the 'One Belt, One Road' initiative as it includes the China Pakistan-Economic Corridor (CPEC) which transverses through Pakistan-occupied Kashmir. China has stepped up activities in the Indian Ocean where it is building ports and other infrastructure in Sri Lanka, Bangladesh and Pakistan.
With PTI inputs