Vice President in Brunei; Pacts on Oil & Gas on cards

Rajat Kain

Shri Md. Hamid Ansari, Hon'ble Vice President of India addressing a Press Conference on board Special Aircraft to Brunei and Thailand, on February 01, 2016. Shri Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudary, Minister of State for Home Affairs is also seen.

Shri Md. Hamid Ansari, Hon’ble Vice President of India addressing a Press Conference on board Special Aircraft to Brunei and Thailand, on February 01, 2016. Shri Haribhai Parathibhai Chaudary, Minister of State for Home Affairs is also seen.

Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari reached Bandar Seri Begawan on Monday evening on a five-day visit to Brunei and Thailand.

Speaking on board the special plane, the Vice President said both India and Brunei are exploring the possibilities of increasing bilateral trade in oil and natural gas. Minister of state for home affairs Haribhai R. Chaudhary is accompanying the Vice President on the two-nation tour.

“We are exploring the possibility of using their gas locally…We tried this formula in Oman, where we manufacture urea locally and bring it to India,” he said.

Emphasising further on India-Brunei ties, the Vice President told that Brunei is an important ASEAN country and it wants to further deepen ties with India.

This is the first visit by an Indian Vice President to Brunei. Former Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh had visited Brunei in October 2013 to attend the 11th ASEAN-India summit and 8th EAS Summit. The Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassanal Bolkiah had visited India in May 2008 and in September 1992.

During the visit, the Vice President will visit Sultan Omar Ali Saifuddien mosque on Tuesday, followed by meetings with the crown Prince Al-Muhtadee Billah and Sultan of Brunei Haji Hassanal Bolkiah at the Sultan’s palace.

Vice President Ansari was accorded a state welcome at the capital city Bandar Seri Begawan on Monday. He was later called upon by the President and Executive Committee of Brunei-India Friendship Association in the capital.

Earlier, speaking to newspersons on board his special aircraft, the Vice President hoped that the upcoming Budget session may be a productive one unlike the Winter session that witnessed disruptions.