Vietnamese Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich and his Indian counterpart at the meeting (Photo: VOV)

New Delhi (VNA) – There is plenty of room for Vietnam and India to deepen bilateral defence cooperation based on their comprehensive strategic partnership.

Lieutenant General Vu Chien Thang, Director of the Foreign Relations Department under the Ministry of National Defence, made the statement in an interview granted to Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of Defence Minister Ngo Xuan Lich’s visit to India from December 4-7.

He highlighted the traditional friendship between Vietnam and India, which was founded by President Ho Chi Minh and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and then nurtured and developed by generations of leaders and people of the two countries.

India is a reliable and close friend of Vietnam, he said, adding that the bilateral defence relations have been lifted to a new height after the two nations elevated their strategic partnership to comprehensive strategic partnership in September this year.

Thang noted that Minister Ngo Xuan Lich and his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar agreed during their meeting to increase the exchange of delegations at all levels, especially among young officials, for deeper mutual understanding and experience sharing.

The two ministers also consented to carry out the 500-million-USD credit package that Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi pledged for Vietnam during his recent visit to the Southeast Asian country, as well as re-evaluate India’s 100-million-USD defence credit package for Vietnam.

India vowed to continue assisting Vietnam in the training of pilots and information technology officials training and sharing experience on UN peacekeeping activities.

Both sides agreed to soon implement the 5.45 million USD aid package announced by the Indian Prime Minister to realise the second phase of the software park project in Nha Trang city of the central coastal province of Khanh Hoa.

Lieutenant General Vu Chien Thang said the agreements reached by the two ministers made practical contributions to the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership, especially when Vietnam and India are celebrating the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties and 10th anniversary of their strategic partnership.

He stressed Vietnam supports the Act East policy of India, while India considers Vietnam an important pillar in this policy.

Vietnam is willing to support India to expand relations with other ASEAN member states and make contributions to peace and stability in the region, the official added.-VNA