New Delhi (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh affirmed to Indian President Pranab Mukherjee at a meeting in New Delhi on July 4 that Vietnam wants to step up the comprehensive strategic partnership with India.

Minh, who is on an official visit to India, said the two countries should increase multilateral cooperation, consultation and coordination in addressing international issues of mutual concerns in order to better respond to changes in international and regional situations.

The Deputy PM congratulated India on its accomplishments in economics, science and technology and expressed his belief that India will soon become one of the biggest economies in the world.

President Pranab Mukherjee showed his satisfaction at the strong development in the sound traditional friendship between Vietnam and India.

He said the establishment of the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016 opened up a new chapter in the two countries’ cooperation and further deepened their relations.

The President pledged to support the bilateral solidarity and friendship in any position.

The same day, Minh met with India’s Minister of Defence and Minister of Finance Arun Jaitley.

The two sides agreed to maintain cooperation in security-defence, especially training and exchanges at relevant forums.

Minister Jaitley said India will continue providing Vietnam with preferential credit packages to help the country realise its ambition of modernisation and industrialisation.

Minh said the two nations have numerous investment cooperation opportunities, so the governments should encourage and create the best conditions for businesses to expand win-win partnership.

Also on July 4, Deputy PM and FM Minh delivered a speech at the opening session of the ninth Delhi Dialogue.

The Deputy PM said the Asian-Pacific region is witnessing a strong shift in geopolitics and geo-economy toward the formation of a multi-polar order.

The Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) and India share major political and socio-economic interests in the Asia-Pacific region, he said, proposing the two sides play a greater role in maintaining regional peace, stability and development.

ASEAN and India will create a dynamic economic development space based on their close infrastructure, digital and navigation connectivity, as well as trade links, investment ties, and people-to-people exchanges, he said.

Both sides will work to boost the building of an open and balanced regional architecture based on the rule of law, Minh said, adding that the ASEAN-India bilateral cooperation will be an important momentum in the success story of “Asia-Pacific Century”.

As the coordinator for ASEAN-India relations in 2015-2018, Vietnam vows to woth with countries to step by step realise the vision of the bilateral strategic partnership, and connect the implementation of the ASEAN Vision 2025 with the Act East Policy of India, focusing on three pillars: politics-security, economy, and culture-society.

In terms of politics-security, ASEAN supports India to play a bigger role as a leading power in the Asia-Pacific and beyond, and hopes to enhance coordination with the country to effectively deal with emerging challenges, and to build a rule-based regional architecture.

The bloc also welcomes India’s efforts to maintain regional peace, stability and development.

In economic terms, ASEAN and India share important interests in promoting liberalisation of trade and investment. Unprecedented opportunities are awaiting ASEAN and Indian investors and consumers when the two sides establish a 1.8 billion-strong market with a total gross domestic product (GDP) of 4,500 billion USD, Minh noted.

Indian businesses could gain access to a united ASEAN market with a population of nearly 650 million with close connectivity with regional leading economies via free trade agreements, he said.

Minh called on ASEAN and India to optimise their huge potential to create regional value chains and become a driving force for regional economic integration, while actively involving in the overall plan on ASEAN connectivity and implementing highway and seaport projects, and soon completing the negotiation of agreements on marine transport and aviation.

He also suggested increasing ASEAN-India cooperation in education, tourism, culture and people-to-people exchanges, especially among youngsters, on the basis of their thousand-year-old historical and cultural links.-VNA