Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (L) shakes hands with Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swaraj (Photo: VNA)
New Delhi (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Indian Minister of External Affairs Sushma Swara​j have reiterated wishes and determination of their senior leaders to continue expanding the bilateral relationship to match the agreed comprehensive strategic partnership.

At their talks in New Delhi on July 4 as part of Minh’s visit from July 3-5, the two sides shared their delight at the growing ties since Vietnam and India set up diplomatic ties in 1972, with sound political relations and regular exchanges of delegations through all channels.

The establishment of strategic partnership in 2007 and comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016 showed strong political trust formed by the two countries, creating an important framework for them to bolster collaboration across politics-diplomacy, defence-security, economy-trade, science-technology, culture and education, they said.

During the talks, the two sides also agreed on various measures to further foster bilateral cooperation in different fields.

In the economic sphere, Minh and Sushma Swaraj stressed the need to take stronger and more effective measures to turn Vietnam and India into important partners.

They concurred that the Vietnam-India subcommittee for trade cooperation should convene a meeting soon to seek ways to increase two-way trade to 15 billion USD in 2020, including providing information and support for businesses, creating favourable conditions for the entry of respective goods, 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 Vietnam has reached 722 million USD, ranking 26th among 119 countries and territories investing in Vietnam, expressing his hope that India will become one of the leading investors in Vietnam soon.

Vietnam wishes for increased engagement of its businesses in India’s initiatives, including the “Make in India”, “Digital India”, and “Skill India”, he stated.

Both sides agreed to bolster cooperation in promising areas, such as software development, IT, banking-finance, logistics, mechanic manufacturing, garment and textile, energy and renewable energy, and pharmaceuticals.

They affirmed interests in expanding cooperation in training and scientific research, and cultural and people-to-people exchanges.

The Indian side pledged to continue providing scholarships for Vietnam and help Vietnam implement projects to restore and preserve Cham towers in My Son.

They also highlighted the need to maintain partnership in defence-security with India continuing its training and technical support programmes as well as soft loan provision and cooperation in coping with non-traditional security challenges.

Minh and Sushma Swaraj shared views on international regional issues of shared concern. They vowed to work closely at international and regional forums to which both countries are members.

As the coordinating country for the ASEAN-India relations in 2015-2018, Vietnam supports India to strengthen comprehensive cooperation and closer connectivity with the bloc and make positive contributions as a powerful country in Asia, stated Minh.

Meanwhile, Sushma Swaraj reaffirmed India’s commitment to strongly upholding the “Act East Policy”, which places ASEAN in general and Vietnam in particular as a major focus.

They reiterated cooperation in maintaining peace, stability as well as overflight 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 Sushma Swaraj signed an Action Programme for the implementation of the comprehensive strategic partnership in 2017-2020.

The programme will orientate the two countries’ across-the-board cooperation.

On the day, Minh paid a courtesy visit to Vice President and Chairman of the Senate Hamid Ansari and received Minister of Defence cum Minister of Finance
Arun Jaitley.

Ansari spoke highly of the warm friendship and the comprehensive strategic partnership between India and Vietnam and expressed his belief that Minh’s visit will help to deploy the partnership practically.

He affirmed that the parliament and people of India have always supported the bilateral ties and wished that the two countries’ ministries and sectors will have more discussions and work together in stepping up cooperative fields in a comprehensive and intensive fashion that fully tap the respective countries’ potential and advantages. 

For his part, Minh asserted that Vietnam has always treasured the time-honoured friendship with India as well as the country’s support for Vietnam’s past struggle for national independence and current nation-building efforts.

He hoped that the two countries will work to deepen the relations and that the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs will work with the Indian ministries and sectors to boost cooperation across politics, economics-trade, defence-security, culture-education, science-technology, and other promising fields.

On the day, Minh received Vietnam’s honorary consul in Nepal Rajesh Kazi Shrestha and several Nepalese businesspeople.

The honorary consul expressed his honor to undertake the task of promoting people-to-people exchanges, connecting businesses and protecting Vietnamese citizens in Nepal when Vietnam has yet to officially open a representative office in the country.

Minh said he is glad to see positive developments in the relations between Vietnam and Nepal, highly valuing the efforts and contributions of the honorary consul to the ties and suggesting him do more for it.-VNA