India and Brunei have signed three Memoranda of Understanding (MoU) to cooperate in the fields of defence, health and youth affairs & sports.
These MoUs were signed the representatives of both the countries in presence of the visiting Vice President Mohd Hamid Ansari at capital Bandar Seri Begawan.
Three MoUs are
- MoU in Health Cooperation: Its objective is to establish cooperation in the field of health between the two countries by means of pooling technical, scientific, financial and human resources and pharmaceutical regulatory practices. It also seeks to upgrade the health care, research and medical education.
- MoU on Defence Cooperation: Its purpose is to enhance and expand the scope of Defence Cooperation between the two countries in various fields.
- Defence ties between India and Brunei dates back to many decades and already exist in the form of naval ship visits, training of senior military officers in Staff colleges and exchange of experience.
- MoU on Cooperation in Youth and Sports Affairs: It seeks to provide a framework for exchanges of sports teams and sports persons.
- It also seeks to facilitate the exchange of expertise in coaching, Sports Management and Administration, Sports talent identification and exchange of information in the field of youth Affairs.
The key agenda of Vice President’s visit was to decide upon the specifics of defence cooperation, health sector tie up and establishing a gas-based urea manufacturing unit by India in Brunei. He also met the Sultan of Brunei Hassanal Bolkiah who has agreed to pay an official visit to India in the near future.
- The defence agreement between both countries is being considered as a major diplomatic breakthrough since both sides established formal relations in 1984.
- Currently, oil rich Brunei’s defence responsibilities are handled by the United Kingdom.
- India’s defence cooperation with Brunei plays significant role in present scenario as the later has territorual disputes with China on the issue of South China Sea.