President Truong Tan Sang had a busy day in New Delhi on October 12 as he received a number of senior Indian officials and took part in various activities, besides meetings with the President and the Prime Minister.

At a reception for Lok Sabha (Lower House) Speaker Meira Kumar, President Sang said he is pleased to visit India and see with his own eyes important achievements that the Indian people have made during their national construction and development.

The two sides expressed joy at the fine developments of the traditional friendship built by late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Neru and late President Ho Chi Minh and fostered by following generations, saying that it has become a treasure of the two nations.

The two sides agreed that the strategic partnership between Vietnam and India has been further consolidated and developed in various fields, both in depth and width.

They emphasised the need to increase the exchange of delegations at all levels, especially exchanges between ministries, agencies, localities and mass organisations.

Speaker Meira Kumar affirmed that boosting ties with Vietnam is a common policy of all political parties in the Indian Parliament.

Vietnam is a focus of India ’s “Look East” policy, she said, adding that she will join other Indian parliamentarians to continuously consolidate the relationship between the two countries in general and between the two parliaments in particular.

The Speaker thanked the Vietnamese National Assembly for its support for India to become an observer at the 31 st ASEAN Inter-Parliamentary Assembly (AIPA-31), which took place in Hanoi in September 2010.

While receiving Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony, the Vietnamese President highly valued the role of India in regional security and its active participation in protecting peace and stability in the Asia-Pacific region.

He also spoke highly of cooperation results between the Vietnamese and Indian Defence Ministries over the past time, considering them a vivid manifestation of the traditional friendship between the two countries’ people and armies.

Minister Antony affirmed continued support for Vietnam in training human resources, enhancing capacity and modernising defence forces, especially naval and air forces.

He agreed that the two sides should continue maintaining strategic defence dialogues and the exchange of visits as well as well implementing signed cooperative agreements for the goal of building peace, stability and cooperation in the Asia-Pacific region.

The Vietnamese State leader received the leaders of the Nationalist Congress Party (NCP), the Communist Party of India (CPI) and the Communist Party of India (Marxist) (CPI-M) and opposition parties.

The same day, President Sang and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh witnessed the signing of six cooperative agreements between the two counties, including an agreement on extradition, a memorandum of understanding between the two governments on the Vietnam-India Friendship Year, and a 2011-2013 action programme on agricultural research and education.

An oil and gas cooperation agreement between the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and India ’s Ongc Videsh Co., Ltd, a protocol on cultural cooperation and a cultural exchange programme between Vietnam and India were also inked.

Talking to the press on the results of his talks with Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, President Sang affirmed that during the talks, the two countries’ leaders expressed pleasure with the fine developments of the traditional friendship, multi-faceted cooperation and strategic partnership between Vietnam and India .

The two sides highly valued the results of the 14 th session of the Vietnam-India Joint Committee for Economic, Trade, Scientific and Technological Cooperation, the fifth Political Consultation and the second Strategic Dialogue held by the two countries recently.

The two sides agreed to raise two-way trade to 7 billion USD by 2015. Vietnam affirmed to create favourable conditions for Indian businesses to invest in the country.

President Sang and PM Manmohan Singh agreed to expand bilateral ties to new areas besides speeding up cooperation in economics, trade, investment, finance, science and technology, defence and security.

Vietnam and India will further strengthen cooperation at regional and international forums such as the ASEAN-India forum, the Ganga-Mekong forum, the East Asia Summit (EAS), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM) and the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF).

The two sides affirmed the importance of maintaining peace and stability and ensuring maritime safety, security and freedom in the East Sea . President Sang and Indian PM Singh agreed that disputes in the East Sea need to be settled through peaceful negotiations based on international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea and the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea .

Earlier, President Sang and his entourage paid floral tributes at the monument to Indian leader Mahatma Gandhi.

Within the framework of the Vietnamese high-ranking delegation’s visit to India , Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc held talks with Indian Minister of Law and Justice Salman Khurshid.

Minister Khurshid offered to share with Vietnam experiences in building sea and environmental protection law and the application of information technology in the management of court and judiciary activities.

For his part, Deputy PM Phuc said Vietnam also hopes to receive Indian assistance in training judicial cadres.

Deputy PM Phuc also met with Managing Director and CEO of Ishan International Pvt. Ltd. Shantanu Srivastava, who is also founder and President of the Indian Business Chamber in Vietnam (INCHAM).

Srivastava said Vietnamese businesses have failed to pay proper attention to the giant market of India , noting that no Vietnamese businesses have opened their offices in India so far while there are more than 70 offices of Indian businesses operating in Vietnam , thus investment ties are only one-sided.

Investment in India is profitable as this is a big market with diversify demands and a low-cost labour force, Srivastava said, affirming that he is willing to help Vietnamese businesses open their offices and conduct their investment in India .

Deputy PM Phuc shared the same view with Srivastava, saying that Vietnam ’s ministries and branches need to have India ’s representative offices to increase understanding and promote investment and trade cooperation ties.

The Deputy PM also met with President of the India-Vietnam Solidarity Committee Geetesh Sharma.

Deputy Minister of Industry and Trade Le Dung Quang held a meeting with representatives of India ’s Tata group, which boasts experiences in various fields, especially building coal-fueled thermoelectric power plants./.