India, Brunei should move beyond seller-buyer relationship: Ansari

Bandar Seri Begawan, Feb. 3 (ANI): Emphasising India’s keenness to deepen and intensify bilateral relations with Brunei, Vice-President M. Hamid Ansari has said that both countries should move beyond the typical energy seller-buyer relationship and head towards diversifying and value-addition in the hydrocarbon trade.

Speaking at the University of Brunei Darussalam here yesterday, Ansari said the sustained economic growth in India, driven by a youthful population, makes it one of the most dependable long term energy markets in the world.

“Energy trade is an area where India and Brunei have strong complementarities. At present India imports crude oil worth 1 billion US dollars from Brunei. Though India is the third largest importer for Brunei, the total import from Brunei is only a fraction of India’s global crude imports of more than 112.748 billion US dollars in 2014-15,” he said.

“As India embarks upon a sustained high growth trajectory, the energy requirements in India are increasing. This offers Brunei an opportunity to enhance export of hydrocarbon to India. The growing Indian economy also provides us with an opportunity to move beyond the typical energy seller-buyer relationship,” he added.

He said that there is tremendous potential for both the countries to diversify and do value-addition in the hydrocarbon export chain.

He said that India is keen to setup a fertiliser plant in Brunei which will enable the South-east Asian nation to utilise hydrocarbon resources for producing fertilizers to meet agricultural requirement in India.

“This will generate additional revenue streams and create local employment and thus be mutually beneficial to both the countries,” Ansari said.

Asserting that India had made rapid strides in the field of Information and Technology in recent years, Vice-President Ansari said that Brunei can benefit from India’s expertise in the field

“This can be an area for enhancing our mutual cooperation and India would be keen to share its experience and expertise in the field of Information Technology in accordance with the wishes and requirements of the people and government of Brunei,” he said.

He made a mention of the government’s flagship programmes such as ‘Make in India’, and ‘Digital India’, and welcomed investments from Brunei in infrastructure and manufacturing sectors.

“The creation of 100 Smart Cities and massive road and railways up-gradation and expansion projects have opened several avenues for making profitable investments in India’s growing infrastructure sector. We are keen to welcome investments from Brunei in India’s infrastructure and manufacturing sectors,” he said.

He also called for more exchanges of students, teachers and researchers from the academic institutions in Brunei, saying that such exchanges would augment people to people contacts.

“The quality of our professionals is a testimony to the strength of academic Institutions in India. This is another area for us to collaborate,” he said.

The vice president interacted with several prominent leaders there and signed memorandums of agreement (MoUs) on cooperation in defence, health and youth and sports affairs.

He also met the Sultan of Brunei, Haji Hassanal Bolkiah Mu’izzaddin Waddaulah, who expressed an interest to visit India for which an invite has been extended. (ANI)

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