|Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi|Viet Nam News
New Delhi – The Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi has granted an interview to the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of his visit to Vietnam.
The following is the full text of the interview.
Prime Minister, could you please tell us about the significance of the visit to Vietnam?
India and Vietnam share traditionally close relations that have their roots in our freedom struggle led by our founding fathers, Mahatma Gandhi and Ho Chi Minh.
India not only stood by Vietnam during its freedom struggle but also during its phase of national reunification. The late 1970s and 80s were a difficult period for Vietnam, and India was one of the few countries that stood by Vietnam in its time of need.
My visit to Vietnam is a reinforcement of our friendship, solidarity and comprehensive cooperation. The visit is intended to further boost our bilateral and multilateral engagement and cooperation in the fields of politics, economy, commerce, culture, human resource development, science and technology, space research, defense and security.
The thrust of our multifaceted relationship is to work towards stability, maintenance of peace, economic growth and prosperity in our countries, Asia and beyond.
The countries have been traditional friends for long time, and also strategic partners in foreign policy. What issues will be discussed during the visit to Vietnam to strengthen our relations, Prime Minister?
We would be covering a wide variety of topics across the entire range of our bilateral and multilateral interactions.
Trade is certainly one important aspect. Our trade currently stands at USD 7.83 billion, and we are committed to meet the target of US$15 billion by 2020.
We would be deliberating on the thrust areas and new sectors for enhancing trade and the impetus required for enhanced investments.
We are also keen on increasing our investments in Vietnam. Indian investments in Vietnam are currently at about $1.1 billion, and would be significantly enhanced upon implementation of large infrastructure projects such as Tata Power’s Long Phu – II 1,320 MW thermal power project with an estimated cost of $2.2 billion.
We would similarly like to invite Vietnam to look at India as an attractive investment destination. We would especially like to invite Vietnamese entrepreneurs to invest in North East India which is a focus area for our Act East Policy.
We are determined to encourage connectivity between North East India and ASEAN and I have announced a $1 billion Line of Credit for India-ASEAN physical and digital connectivity.
Prime Minister Phuc and I would also be discussing regional cooperation and stability and our multilateral cooperation.
Prime Minister, India is implementing the ‘Act East’ policy, so where is the position of Vietnam in this strategy?
Our Act East Policy aims to forge partnerships with our eastern neighbours to encompass security, strategic, political, counter-terrorism, and defence collaboration in addition to economic ties. It was crystallised to underscore the importance of East Asian neighbors of India and to make them a priority in our foreign policy engagement.
Vietnam is an integral member of ASEAN and is a very important pillar in our Act East Policy. Vietnam is the ASEAN Coordinator for India for 2015-18 and both countries are committed to strengthening our partnership within the India-ASEAN and Mekong-Ganga Cooperation frameworks.
Towards the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and India and 10 years of strategic partnership relations between Vietnam and India in 2017, would you give a message to Vietnam, Prime Minister?
The year 2017 marks a very important milestone in the bilateral relations between the two countries and we would be organising various events throughout the year to commemorate the events.
The ‘Strategic Partnership’ established in 2007 has been instrumental in cementing our security and defence relations and is today comprehensive in its reach, depth and engagement.
However, our relationship is not limited to the 45 years of our modern existence but spans two millennia of contacts between our civilisations.
The advent of Buddhism from India to Vietnam and the remnants of the Hindu Cham civilization stand testimony to this.
Both India and Vietnam have a young and dynamic demography with majority of the population below the age of 35 years. It is therefore important to secure our future, and the focus of our relations is rightly set towards fulfilling the aspirations of our youth.
The two countries share many similarities in history, traditional culture and religion though their friendship and mutual understanding have been tested through the ups and downs of history.
I would like to reiterate late Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong’s words that the India - Vietnam relationship is “as pure as a cloudless sky”. We have a duty to our countries and peoples to add to this rich inheritance.-VNA