The Vice President of India, M. Hamid Ansari said that the time has come for taking our partnership to a higher level in order to bring greater prosperity to our peoples and peace and stability in the region. He was addressing the University of Brunei Darussalam, in Brunei today. The Vice President mentioned the historical and cultural linkages between Brunei and India that led a strong and abiding relationship. He said that India was among the first to welcome Brunei in the comity of nations when it became independent in 1984 and that His Majesty, the Sultan, enjoys the highest esteem in the hearts and minds of the Indian people.
The Vice President said that the sustained economic growth in India has made India one of the most dependable long term energy markets in the world and energy trade is an area where India and Brunei have strong complementarities. India imports crude oil worth US $1 billion from Brunei making India third largest importer for Brunei. However, as demand expands, the opportunity to enhance export of hydrocarbon to India continues to grow, he added. Referring to the economy, the Vice President said that India's growth offered space to move beyond the typical seller-buyer relationship in the energy field with the potential to diversify and add value in the hydrocarbon export chain. Therefore, he said that India is keen to work with the Government of Brunei in setting up a fertilizer plant that would make use of the hydrocarbon resources available here for producing fertilizers to meet agricultural requirement in India while generating additional revenue streams and creating local employment.
The Vice President invited investments from Brunei in India's infrastructure and manufacturing sectors by mentioning programmes such as ‘Make in India’, and ‘Digital India’; the creation of 100 Smart Cities and massive road and railways up-gradation and expansion projects. The Vice President thanked Brunei for the assistance and cooperation that has been extended for India’s Space Programmes through the Telemetry Tracking and Telecommand Station of ISRO in Brunei which was a crucial component in India’s spectacular success in deploying the Mangalyaan in orbit around Mars. The Vice President also mentioned Information Technology as an area where India had made rapid strides and in which India would be keen to share its experience and expertise with Brunei. The Vice President also made note of the contributions of the Indian community in Brunei in various fields.
The Vice President said that India and Brunei cooperate closely on several issues in international bodies, including in the UN and the Commonwealth. He appreciated the understanding of Brunei in India's enhanced role at the United Nations and for its candidature for permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council. Highlighting the threat from the 'scourge of terrorism, the Vice President said that it had become a challenge for all peace loving countries and that India was determined to combat this menace with strong cooperation from like-minded countries. India would be keen to expand its cooperation with Brunei in combating global terrorism, particularly preventing financing of terrorism through sharing of information, he added.