‘India, Brunei have equal stake in security of Asian neighbourhood’

Bandar Seri Begawan (Brunei), Feb 3 (IANS) India and Brunei have mutual interests in maintaining the safety of Asian sea lanes for the security and prosperity of a “shared Asian neighbourhood”, Vice President Hamid Ansari said on Wednesday.

“Both our countries have equal stakes in the security and prosperity of our shared Asian neighbourhood,” he said while delivering a speech at the University of Brunei on ‘India-Brunei: Partners in Peace and Prosperity’.

“We seek to promote not only mutually beneficial bilateral relations, but also to work institutionally with regional partners and foster a climate conducive to stability, security and economic development in our region,” he said.

Noting that as trading economies, both countries have an interest in the safety of sea lanes and maritime security, Ansari said India wants to expand cooperation with Brunei in combating terrorism, particularly in sharing information to check its financing.

“We are keen to expand our cooperation with Brunei in combating global terrorism, particularly preventing financing of terrorism through sharing of information,” he added.

The south-east Asian nation of Brunei is located on the island of Borneo off the South China Sea, a major shipping lane with over half the world’s commercial cargo passing through the Indo-Pacific waterways.

Ansari said Indian naval ships have visited Brunei, while those from Brunei have participated in joint naval exercises.

“This has laid the ground for deepening our cooperation in the defence sector, including by training of defence personnel in various fields,” he said.

Pointing to the potential of strengthening bilateral energy trade, the vice president said India imports crude oil worth 1 billion dollars from Brunei.

Though India is the third largest oil importer for Brunei, the total import from there is only a fraction of India’s global crude imports of over 112,748 billion dollars in 2014-15, Ansari said.

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