India, Vietnam agree to strengthen strategic partnership, defence, security ties
New Delhi, November 20, 2013
India and Vietnam today agreed on several initiatives that will define the contours of their strategic partnership in the years ahead and to strengthen their defence and security partnership further.
At talks between Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and Communist Party of Vietnam General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong here, the two sides reviewed the entire gamut of their relationship.
"General Secretary Trong and I held very cordial and productive discussions today. We have agreed on a number of initiatives that will define the contours of our Strategic Partnership in the years ahead," Dr Singh said at a joint media interaction with Mr Trong this evening.
"We reaffirmed the importance of defence and security cooperation in our overall Strategic Partnership and agreed to strengthen it further. India will continue to assist Vietnam in modernization and training of its defence and security forces, including through a 100 million U.S. dollar line of credit for defence purchases," he said.
Dr Singh said India would also help in setting up the Indira Gandhi High-tech Cyber Forensic Laboratory in Hanoi and a Vietnam-India English and IT Training Centre at the National Defence Academy of Vietnam.
Welcoming Mr Trong on his first state visit to India, Dr Singh said both countries belonged to a region that held enormous potential, but also many challenges.
"We have a strong convergence of interests in working together, and with others in the region, for a stable, peaceful and prosperous Asia. We have therefore sought to build a comprehensive relationship with a broad-based agenda of bilateral and regional cooperation. Vietnam’s emergence as one of the most vibrant economies in the Asia Pacific region is greatly welcomed by India, especially because we regard Vietnam as a trusted and privileged strategic partner and an important pillar of our Look East Policy," he said.
Dr Singh said bilateral trade between the two countries had grown steadily and they were on course to achieve the target of $ 7 billion by 2015.
He said a new Joint Sub-Commission on Trade had been tasked to work towards realizing the enormous potential of their economic relations.
"Indian investments in Vietnam are growing and I requested General Secretary Trong to facilitate them further in Vietnam. I expressed appreciation for Vietnam’s decision to award Tata Power a 1.8 billion US dollar thermal power project in Vietnam and the offer of another offshore block to ONGC Videsh Limited for continued oil and gas exploration. We also look forward to boosting our bilateral economic ties through the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement and connectivity projects," he said.
The Prime Minister said the Air Services Agreement signed today advanced their goal of strengthening connectivity between the two countries.
He said he and Mr Trong reviewed the development partnership between the two countries and capacity-building efforts.
"The PARAM High Performance Computing Facility has just been inaugurated at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology, which is India’s first gift of a supercomputer to another country. Vietnam has been an important partner in the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation Programme, which we have agreed to continue. We have identified Education and Information Technology as important areas for further collaboration," he said.
Dr Singh said they were satisfied with the progress in Science and Technology cooperation, especially in bio-technology and agriculture.
"India also appreciates Vietnam’s assistance in setting up its first overseas farm for catfish breeding, where Vietnam has proven expertise," he said.
Dr Singh conveyed to Mr Trong the Archeological Survey of India’s readiness to take up the project for conservation and restoration of the Cham Monuments, which are a symbol of our historical, civilizational and cultural contacts.
He said India had also decided to open an Indian Culture Centre in Hanoi.
"We have agreed to further strengthen contacts at all levels - national and provincial - and between leaders in all walks of life. We also look forward to initiating a Distinguished Visitors Programme soon.
"We exchanged views on regional and international issues of common interest. We appreciate Vietnam’s steadfast support to India’s integration and engagement with the ASEAN and our aspiration for permanent membership of a reformed UN Security Council.
"I believe that this visit by General Secretary Trong has put our Strategic Partnership on a firm growth path," he added.