India offers to link with Brunei in meeting South Asian energy needs

National 2 minutes, 47 seconds


INDIA is offering Brunei an opportunity to boost its export of hydrocarbon to meet the South Asian nation’s increasing energy needs as it embarks upon a sustained high growth trajectory.

Indian Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari said his country’s growing economy provides an opportunity to move beyond the typical energy seller-buyer relationship with “tremendous potential” to diversify and generate value-addition in the hydrocarbon export chain.

“In this context, India is keen to work with the government of Brunei in setting up a fertiliser plant,” he said in his special lecture delivered at Universiti Brunei Darussalam (UBD) yesterday.

The plant would utilise the hydrocarbon resources available in the sultanate for producing fertilisers to meet agricultural requirement in India. Ansari said this mutually beneficial project will create additional revenue streams and local employment.

“Energy trade is an area where India and Brunei have strong complementarities,” he said, noting that India imports crude oil worth US$1 billion from the sultanate.

“The sustained economic growth in India, driven by a youthful population with rising aspirations, makes India one of the most dependable long term energy markets in the world,” he said.

He added they were keen to welcome investments from Brunei in India’s infrastructure and manufacturing sectors, following his government’s ambitious infrastructure development policy which includes flagship programmes such as ‘Make in India’ and ‘Digital India’.

The creation of 100 ‘smart cities’, massive road and railways upgrades, and expansion projects have opened several avenues for profitable investments in India’s growing infrastructure sector.

Ansari also expressed gratitude for the assistance and cooperation rendered by Brunei in India’s space programmes through the Telemetry Tracking and Telecommand Station of the Indian Space Research Organisation in Brunei.

“The station was a crucial component in India’s spectacular success in deploying the Mangalyaan in orbit around Mars.

“We look forward to continuing our cooperation in this area,” he said.

The vice president also suggested for mutual cooperation to be enhanced in information technology, an area where India has made rapid strides in recent years.

Following the steady expansion of India’s engagement with East and Southeast Asia over the last two decades, he said they seek to promote not only mutually beneficial bilateral relations, but also to work institutionally with regional partners.

The vice president said they aim to “foster a climate that is conducive to stability, security and economic development in our region”.

“It is to the great credit of the ASEAN countries that they have led the way in cooperation and integration, not only among themselves, but also in the broader region,” he said.

He said they valued Brunei’s support and constructive role in making India a full dialogue partner of ASEAN and in the ongoing ASEAN-India Free Trade Area negotiations.

As Brunei prepares for greater integration into the ASEAN Community, he said India will continue to “steadfastly support Brunei in assuming its rightful place in the comity of nation, as a dependable friend and partner”.

“The time has come (to take) our partnership to a higher level in order to bring greater prosperity to our people and peace and stability in the region,” said the vice president.

The vice president was on a three-day official visit to Brunei from February 1 to 3 to reaffirm the importance of India-Brunei ties and strengthen bilateral cooperation in numerous areas.

The Brunei Times