India, Brunei have equal stakes in security and prosperity of Asia: Ansari

Bandar Seri Begawan: Asserting that India and Brunei have equal stakes in the security and prosperity of the Asian neighbourhood, Vice President M. Hamid Ansari has said that both countries need to foster a climate that is conducive to stability, security and economic development in the region.

Speaking at the University of Brunei Darussalam here yesterday, Ansari said ‘scourge of terrorism’ is a challenge for all peace loving countries and called for strong cooperation among like-minded countries to counter the growing menace.

“The scourge of terrorism is a challenge for all peace loving countries of the world. We are determined to combat this menace with strong cooperation from like-minded countries. We would be keen to expand our cooperation with Brunei in combating global terrorism, particularly preventing financing of terrorism through sharing of information,” he said.

“The scope of India’s engagement with East and Southeast Asia has grown steadily in the last two decades. We seek to promote not only mutually beneficial bilateral relations, but also to work institutionally with regional partners and foster a climate that is conducive to stability, security and economic development in our region,” he added.

Stressing on maritime security, Ansari said that joint naval exercises between India and Brunei have led to deepening of cooperation between both countries in the defence sector and the coastal security.

“As trading economies, both India and Brunei have an interest in maintaining the safety of sea-lanes and maritime security. For some years now, Indian naval ships have been visiting Brunei and your ships have also participated in some of joint exercises,” he said.

“This has laid the grounds for deepening our cooperation in the defence sector, including by training of defence personnel in various fields. We would also be open to exploring closer cooperation with Brunei in other areas of mutual interest such as coastal security and disaster preparedness and relief,” he added.

Ansari also lauded ASEAN countries for leading the way in cooperation and integration for broader interest of the region.

“For India, it is an article of faith of our Look-East policy that ASEAN must remain central to the future evolution of regional mechanisms, which must be open and inclusive. We share your vision and aspirations for the region and we applaud your march towards an ASEAN Economic Community,” he said. (ANI)