Brunei, India ink three MoUs

National 2 minutes, 41 seconds

BRUNEI-MUARA

BRUNEI and India agreed to bring their ties to new heights following the signing of three memorandums of understanding (MoUs) on defence, youth and sports affairs as well as health cooperation yesterday.

The defence MoU sets the framework for bilateral cooperation, including activities such as exchange visits at official and working levels, training and the conduct of joint military exercises.

“The signing of the memorandum of understanding recognised the increasing commitments of Brunei Darussalam and India in promoting and fostering defence cooperation,” said the Ministry of Defence in a statement.

The MoUs were inked during the Indian high-ranking officials’ visit to Brunei, led by Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari.

Speaking to local and Indian media during a press briefing, Indian Secretary (East) of External Affairs Anil Wadhwa said cooperation in defence already existed in the form of naval ship visits, training of senior military officers at staff colleges and exchange of experiences.

“The framework agreement seeks to institutionalise this cooperation,” he said.

“A team from Brunei will visit India to follow up on the MoU on defence cooperation to identify areas that are required immediately in the medium and long term,” he said, adding that concrete work will begin in those specific areas during the Brunei visit.

The Ministry of Culture, Youth and Sports said the MoU on youth and sports affairs will see more exchange programmes, promotion of sports facilities and equipment, training and physicial preparations, coaching and sports management and administration as well as exchange of information in the field of youth affairs.

Wadhwa, who signed all three MoUs, further said the MoU on health aimed to pool technical, scientific, financial and human resources and upgrade healthcare, medical education as well as research between the two countries.

The specific areas that have been identified for cooperation include exchange of doctors, other professionals and experts and exchange of information on health.

Other areas are medical and health research development, regulations of pharmaceuticals, medical devices and cosmetics, and disease prevention.

“India would be sending a delegation to identify how to set up (health) facilities here which can linked up, for example, to satellite diagnostic which is important for Brunei,” the secretary said.

Wadhwa added that His Majesty is interested to visit India once again after an invitation was extended to him. “We will soon hopefully have His Majesty in India,” he said, adding that His Majesty visited India three times in the past and each visit had been very successful.”

He said the Crown Prince was also invited to visit India, adding that HRH would like to visit India to observe sports-related developments.

During the visit, the vice president also touched on terrorism, especially how technology has been used and importance of sharing information to fight against terrorism, the South China Sea dispute and the role of ASEAN to promote regional security.

Permanent Secretary of Defence Datin Paduka Hjh Suriyah Hj Umar signed the defence MoU on behalf of the Brunei government.

Permanent Secretary of Culture Youth and Sports Dato Paduka Dr Hj Affendy Pehin Orang Kaya Saiful Mulok Dato Seri Paduka Hj Abidin and Permanent Secretary of Health Hj Zakaria Hj Serudin, signed the MoUs on youth and sports and health, respectively.

The Brunei Times