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Vietnam leaders hail India’s position on disputed SCS

Vietnam’s top leaders on Saturday lauded India's position on the disputed South China Sea (SCS) and sought its participation in oil and gas sectors of the Communist nation, as they hailed the upgradation of bilateral ties to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

Vietnam appreciates India's principled position on the South China Sea issue, Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong told Prime Minister Narendra Modi when the latter called on him, sources said.

"We must also intensify our coordination in regional and multilateral fora," he told Modi, who reiterated that India always stood as a friend with Vietnam throughout history. "It would be rare to find such a relationship which has lasted 2,000 years," he told Trong and recalled the Vietnamese leader's visit to India in 2013.

China is involved in a raging dispute with the Philippines, Vietnam, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei over ownership of territory in the SCS, a busy waterway through which India's 50 per cent trade passes.

India supports freedom of navigation and over flight, and unimpeded commerce, based on the principles of international law, as reflected notably in the UNCLOS (United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea).

India believes that states should resolve disputes through peaceful means without threat or use of force and exercise self-restraint in the conduct of activities that could complicate or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability.

The Prime Minister said areas such as cyber security and information technology would benefit from the creation of a task force and help the two sides solve future problems. 

India extends $500 million to Hanoi to bolster defence ties
India on Saturday extended a $500 million line of credit to Vietnam to deepen their defence cooperation and signed 12 agreements including a deal to construct offshore patrol boats, amid China's muscle flexing in the disputed South China Sea and "emerging regional challenges".

PM Narendra Modi, who held wide-ranging talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, said the two countries have decided to elevate their strategic ties to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to provide it a new momentum. 
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