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India has enjoyed best of relations with ‘good friend’ Brunei: Ansari

On board Air India One: Describing as unfortunate the cancellation of his visit to Brunei, Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari, who returned home late on Thursday night, said that India enjoys the best of relations with the former, and that the Brunei leadership had understood the need for him to cancel his visit because of the vagaries of nature as also because of his upcoming talks with his Chinese counterpart Li Yuanchao on Friday.

Interacting with media that accompanied him on his state visit to Indonesia, Ansari said, “It was unfortunate that we had to cancel the second leg of my official visit to Brunei. The Government of Brunei was informed and they understood our situation very well. Brunei is a very important member of the ASEAN, a very good friend and supporter of India in the Commonwealth, the ASEAN and the East Asia Summit. There are absolutely no problems between our two countries and it was just an accidental happening that we could not go,”

When asked what was the aim the planned visit to Brunei, the vice president said, “Our agenda was to further cooperation. We will reschedule a visit as and when the Government of India decides Work has started at the bilateral level and my impression is that in the months to come, we can see more activity.”

He had earlier said that by accident rather than by design, India and Brunei have not had many visits at the bilateral level, but nevertheless, contacts with that country have been at the historical, cultural and diplomatic level.

He also said that Brunei has been a very active supporter of India’s “Look East, Act East” policy, besides helping New Delhi to deepen its cooperation with the ASEAN.

In economic and commercial terms, Ansari said India has had a satisfactory export and import performance with Brunei in fiscal 2014-15.

India mainly imports crude oil from Brunei, while in the services sector, it exports manpower in good numbers that are qualified, skilled and unskilled.