India’s External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid has issued a statement to the media on the 15th India-Vietnam Joint Commission Meeting on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation, which took place in New Delhi on July 11.

The following is the full text of the statement:

“I am delighted to welcome my friend Pham Binh Minh, Foreign Minister of Vietnam who is visiting India for the 15 th meeting of the Joint Commission between our countries. He has a deep connection with India and has many friends here. It is like home coming.

This morning, we had a meeting to discuss the strengthening of our strategic partnership which included exchange of a cooperative agenda on bilateral relations and regional and global issues. I am satisfied that the India-Vietnam Strategic Partnership is developing well. We have agreed to consolidate our activities and add greater content to the partnership and bilateral relations in the fields of defence and security, trade & investment, science & technology, information technology, capacity building and human resource development, agriculture, education & culture and other areas of common interest.

Thereafter, we co-chaired the 15th India-Vietnam Joint Commission Meeting on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation. The Meeting took stock of our entire range of bilateral relations and identified areas of future cooperation to strengthen and expand our strategic partnership. We reviewed the implementation of activities agreed for 2011-13 under bilateral cooperation and exchanges and agreed to a plan of activities for 2013-15. Our cooperation in regional and multilateral fora was also discussed.

At the end of the meeting, we signed the Agreed Minutes of the JCM. You have witnessed the signing of an Agreement on the 19.5 million US Dollars LOC for setting up Nam Trai-IV hydropower project and Binh Bo Pumping station by CMD, Exim Bank and Vietnamese Vice Minister of Finance.

The Vietnamese Foreign Minister will call on Dr. Manmohan Singh, Prime Minister of India during his visit. He will also deliver a speech on " India -Vietnam Relations and Regional Issues" at ICWA.

India-Vietnam strategic partnership is characterised by warm and close bilateral relations and high degree of trust and understanding at political levels. High level visits have played a very important role in consolidating and strengthening our relations. Regular meetings between our PM and Vietnamese leaders have taken place on the sidelines of multilateral summit meetings. The institutional architecture of the India-Vietnam strategic partnership is based on the joint declaration on Strategic Partnership of 2007 and dialogue mechanisms and agreements.

Vietnam has regularly reiterated its support for India 's candidature for permanent membership of an expanded UNSC. It has also signed the G-4 Draft Resolution on reforms of the UNSC.

India-Vietnam security and defence cooperation is robust and growing, based on shared interests and a convergence in our security perceptions.

Economic ties have expanded with Vietnam receiving substantial Indian private sector investments and growing trade. Bilateral trade has grown to 6.1 billion USD in 2012-13. We are well on track to cross the target of 7 billion USD by 2015. Investments by Indian companies totals about 936 million USD in 86 projects in sectors such as oil and gas exploration, mineral exploration and processing, sugar manufacturing, agro-chemicals, IT, and agricultural processing.

Recently, Vietnam has chosen Tata Power as developer for a 1.8 billion USD 2X660 MW Long Phu 2 Thermal Power Project in Soc Trang Province in southern Vietnam, despite strong competition from Korean and Russian companies. It will be the single largest Indian investment in Vietnam when it comes through and will give a strong boost to our economic cooperation and the strategic partnership. The MoU between the two Central Banks, viz. Reserve Bank of India and the State Bank of Vietnam, signed in 2012, will enable Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bank to upgrade their representative offices that they opened in Ho Chi Minh City in February 2003 and March 2008 respectively into full-fledged branches in near future.

India has extended 17 LoCs totalling 164.5 million USD, including 19.5 million USD LoC for setting up Nam Trai-IV hydropower project and Binh Bo Pumping station, signed today. India has also agreed to consider earmarking 100 million USD under the Buyer's Credit under the National Export Insurance Account (BC-NEIA) for use by Vietnam .

The two countries have strong cooperation in capacity building and human resources development. Vietnam has been participating actively in training programmes under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation ( ITEC ) programme. Presently, 150 ITEC slots are being offered to Vietnam every year along with 16 scholarships under the General Cultural Scholarship Scheme (GCSS), 14 scholarships under the Educational Exchange Programme (EEP) and 10 scholarships under the MGC Scholarship Scheme.

India has set up a 2 million USD Vietnam-India Advanced Resource Centre in ICT (ARC-ICT) in Hanoi and is providing a PARAM Supercomputer, costing Rs 4.7cr (47 million INR), as a grant, for use in multiple applications. The Vietnam-India Entrepreneurship Development Centre (VIEDC) and a Vietnam-India English Language Training Center (VICELT) have been established with Indian assistance under the IAI (Initiative for ASE AN Integration) as well. An IBSA funded Rice Seed Improvement Project in Da Nang is ongoing.

We plan to establish an Indian Cultural Centre in Hanoi this year and hope that it will further promote cultural cooperation between the two countries. Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is about to finalise an agreement on conservation of the ancient remains of the Cham Civilisation at My Son. This will help revive our ancient heritage and cultural links.

We attach great importance to the development of our relations with Vietnam and move forward on India-Vietnam strategic partnership by adding more content in all areas. You will recall, the year 2012 marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between India and Vietnam , the 5th anniversary of the India-Vietnam Strategic Partnership, the 20th anniversary of partnership between India and ASEAN. The two sides celebrated it as the 'Year of Friendship between India and Vietnam. ”