Viet Nam News
NEW DELHI – Việt Nam and India are determined to expand bilateral relations to match the elevated status of comprehensive strategic partnership that both nations have agreed on.
The determination was voiced in talks held by Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh and Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj in New Delhi yesterday.
Minh is on a three-day official visit to India.
In their talks, both officials shared their pleasure at the strong growth in ties since Việt Nam and India established diplomatic relations in 1972.
The establishment of a strategic partnership in 2007 and elevating it to comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016 showed the strong political trust between the two countries, creating an important framework for strengthening collaboration in all areas including politics and diplomacy, defence and security, economy and trade, science and technology, and culture and education, they said.
The two sides also agreed on various measures to bolster multifaceted bilateral co-operation.
In the economic sphere, Minh and Swaraj stressed the need for stronger and more effective measures to turn Việt Nam and India into important partners.
They concurred that the Việt Nam-India subcommittee for trade co-operation should convene a meeting soon to seek ways to increase two-way trade to US$15 billion by 2020, including providing information and support for businesses, creating favourable conditions for the entry of goods from either country, and strengthening connections in all fields.
They also agreed to beef up affiliation within the framework of the ASEAN-India free trade agreement, and foster collaboration with regional countries in speeding up and finalizing the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP).
Minh noted that Indian investment in Việt Nam had reached $722 million, ranking 26th of 119 countries and territories investing in Việt Nam. He expressed his hope that India would become one of the leading investors in Việt Nam soon.
Việt Nam wishes increased engagement of its businesses with India’s initiatives, including “Make in India”, “Digital India” and “Skilled India”, he said.
Both sides agreed to step up co-operation in promising areas like software development, IT, banking-finance, logistics, mechanic manufacturing, garment and textile, energy and renewable energy, and pharmaceuticals.
They also affirmed interest in expanding co-operation in training and scientific research, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges.
The Indian side pledged to continue providing scholarships and helping Việt Nam implement projects to restore and preserve the Cham towers in Mỹ Sơn.
The two foreign ministers also highlighted the need to strengthen their defence-security partnership with India continuing its training and technical support programmes, provision of soft-loans and co-operation in coping with non-traditional security challenges.
Minh and Swaraj also exchanged views on international regional issues of shared concern. They vowed to work closely at international and regional forums.
As the coordinating country for the ASEAN-India relations in 2015-18, Việt Nam supports India in strengthening comprehensive co-operation and closer connectivity with the bloc and making positive contributions as a powerful country in Asia, Minh said.
Swaraj reaffirmed India’s commitment to strongly upholding the “Act East” policy, which places ASEAN in general and Việt Nam in particular as a major foreign policy focus.
The two leaders reiterated that their collaboration in maintaining peace, stability as well as over-flight and maritime safety and security in the Asia-Pacific region and the world.
They emphasised the principle of respecting international law and settling disputes through peaceful measures in conformity with international law, the United Nations Charter and the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
Following the talks, Minh and Swaraj signed an Action Programme for implementing the comprehensive strategic partnership for the 2017-2020 period.
Also yesterday, Minh paid a courtesy call on Vice President and Chairman of the Senate, Hamid Ansari; and received Minister of Defence as well as Minister of Finance, Arun Jaitley.
Ansari spoke highly of the warm friendship and comprehensive strategic partnership between India and Việt Nam and expressed his belief that Minh’s visit would help to deploy the partnership practically.
He affirmed that the parliament and people of India had always supported the strengthening of bilateral ties with Viet Nam in all fields.
He expressed his wish that the two countries’ ministries and sectors hold more discussions and work together towards stepping up co-operation in a comprehensive, intensive fashion that fully taps the potentials and advantages of both countries.
Minh asserted that Việt Nam had always treasured its time-honoured friendship with India as well as the country’s support for Việt Nam’s past struggles for national independence and its current nation-building efforts.
He hoped that the two countries would work to deepen the relations and pledged that the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs would work with the Indian ministries and sectors to boost co-operation in politics, economics, trade, defence-security, culture-education, science-technology, and other promising fields.
Ties with Nepal
Later, Minh received Việt Nam’s honorary consul in Nepal Rajesh Kazi Shrestha and several Nepalese businesspeople.
The honorary consul expressed his honour in undertaking the task of promoting people-to-people exchanges, connecting businesses and protecting Vietnamese citizens in Nepal when Việt Nam is yet to officially open a representative office in the country.
Minh said he is glad to see positive developments in ties between Việt Nam and Nepal. He said he valued the efforts and contributions of the honorary consul and requested him to continue the good work. — VNS