Bandar Seri Begawan, Feb 3: Underscoring that India and Brunei have equal stakes in the security and prosperity of a "shared Asian neighbourhood", Vice President Hamid Ansari on Wednesday said that both the countries have an interest in maintaining the safety of the sea-lanes in the region.
Ansari also said stressed that India wants to expand cooperation with Brunei in combating terrorism, particularly preventing its financing through sharing of information.
As trading economies, both India and Brunei have an interest in maintaining the safety of sea-lanes and maritime security, he said delivering a speech at University of Brunei on the topic 'India-Brunei: Partners in Peace and Prosperity.
"Both our countries have equal stakes in the security and prosperity of our shared Asian neighbourhood," he said. "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 said.
On Tuesday, India and Brunei held discussed the Chinese territorial claims in the South China Sea which has the potential to affect free maritime traffic in Southeast Asia. China claims the South China Sea and 90 per cent of the islands including major shipping lanes that dot it.
Brunei, along with other ASEAN members like Malaysia, Philippines and Vietnam, has been also staking claims in the South China Sea. The SCS is a major shipping lane. Over half of the world's commercial cargo passes through the Indo-Pacific waterways.
Ansari said Indian naval ships have visited Brunei and naval ships from Brunei have participated in joint exercises. "This has laid the grounds for deepening our cooperation in the defence sector, including by training of defence personnel in various fields," he said.
Talking about the growing threat from militancy, Ansari said 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.
Ansari said India would be open to explore closer ties with Brunei in coastal security and disaster preparedness. India and Brunei cooperate on many issues in international bodies, including in the UN and the Commonwealth.
"We appreciate the understanding of Brunei in India's enhanced role at the United Nations and for its candidature for permanent membership of the UN Security Council. On climate change, Ansari said India has a long tradition of harmonious co-existence between man and nature.
"We represent a culture that calls our planet Mother Earth. It is therefore natural for India to be at the forefront of dealing with managing the adverse impact of climate change in the spirit of common but differentiated responsibilities," the Vice President said.