|Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and his wife begin an official visit to India today.— Photo VGP
HA NOI (VNS) — Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung begins an official visit to India today, aiming to consolidate the strategic partnership between both countries and take it to new heights.
The three-day visit seeks to build on the long-standing relationship between the two countries that was established by President Ho Chi Minh and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and has since been nurtured by generations of Vietnamese and Indian leaders and people.
After diplomatic ties between the two countries were formalized in January 1972, Viet Nam and India elevated this to a strategic partnership in 2007 around five pillars: politics, national defence-security, economics-trade, science-technology, and culture and personnel training.
The partnership has been fostered by exchange visits of senior leaders and officials at all levels, including Party leaders, Presidents, top legislators, Prime Ministers and others.
In 2003, the two countries established an annual political dialogue mechanism between the two foreign ministries, making it a regular platform to talk about regional and global issues of shared concern, besides other co-operative mechanisms such as the Viet Nam-India Inter-governmental Committee, the Joint Sub-committee on Trade and a defence dialogue.
Viet Nam and India have worked closely together at global and regional forums including the ASEAN-India dialogue, East Asia Summit, the Non-Aligned Movement and the United Nations (UN).
Viet Nam backed India as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council for the 2011-2012 tenure. India, in turn, supported Viet Nam's bid to join the UN Human Rights Council for 2014-2016 term and seek a non-permanent seat at the UN Security Council for 2020-2021 term.
On the East Sea issue, India has supported Viet Nam's stance on the peaceful settlement of disputes in line with international law, including the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties (DOC) in the East Sea.
India has also shown its support for maritime security, safety and freedom and the right to access resources in the East Sea in accordance with international law, pledging to continue co-operating with Viet Nam in the oil and gas sector; and calling for concerned parties to respect the principles of international law, deal with existing problems through negotiations, observe the DOC and conclude soon talks on the Code of Conduct for the East Sea.
On the economic front, two-way trade between Viet Nam and India surged 35 percent year-on-year to US$5.23 billion in 2013, including $2.3 billion worth of Viet Nam's exports, mostly coal, pepper, electronic accessories, rubber, fibre, footwear and chemicals. The two sides have set a target of $10 billion in two-way trade by 2015 and $15 billion by 2020.
India has recognised Viet Nam as a market economy.
As of May 2014, India had poured $273 million into 78 projects in Viet Nam, primarily in oil and gas, mineral processing, sugar, agricultural chemicals, information technology and farm produce processing.
The two countries have increased bilateral co-operation in national defence during recent years, with their armies, navies and air forces sharing experiences and training together.
A deputy ministerial-level strategic defence dialogue was launched in 2003 and India has pledged to help Viet Nam modernise its defence capability.
Bilateral ties have also been shored up in other areas as well. Both nations have regularly held artistic and cultural exchanges to enhance mutual understanding between the two peoples. India is also working to open a cultural centre in Ha Noi.
Annually, the Indian government offers scholarships to 150 Vietnamese students pursuing short-term and long-term courses on agriculture, information technology, economics, law, English language and remote sensing. More and more Vietnamese students are choosing India as a destination for higher studies thanks to the quality and affordability of education in the country.
Since its inception in 1997, the Viet Nam-India Sub-Committee on Scientific and Technological Co-operation has so far convened nine meetings and carried out 13 projects across IT, cultivation, breeding, industry and environment.
They have also signed many agreement and MoUs covering co-operation in diverse areas. — VNS