State President Truong Tan Sang’s visit to India will inject greater substance into the two countries’ ‘strategic partnership’ by providing high level political impetus, said Indian President Pratibha Devisingh Patil.

In an interview granted to the Vietnam News Agency on Oct. 12, Indian President Pratibha Patil said during the visit, the two sides have agreed on several significant initiatives and proposals that will take their strategic partnership to a new level.

Several important agreements in areas including agriculture, culture, oil and gas amongst others will also be signed.

President Pratibha Patil stressed India and Vietnam share exceptionally friendly and cordial relations since their foundations were laid by the late Prime Minister Jawahar Lal Nehru and the late President Ho Chi Minh more than 50 years ago.

“The two countries’ ties have their historical roots in the common struggle for liberation from foreign rule and the national struggle for independence. Both countries have since traveled a long way and are moving confidently today on the path of economic growth and prosperity,” said the President.

The two countries’ relationship has transformed to reflect the changes ushered in by a more globalised and integrated world, she added.

Regarding the Vietnam-India cooperation within the framework of the “Look East Policy”, which has been pursued by India since 1991, President Pratibha Patil affirmed Vietnam is a strong pillar of India’s “Look East Policy” and India stands committed to forging closer relations with Vietnam both bilaterally and within the framework of ASEAN.

She went on to say that the two countries’ bilateral ties have deepened in recent years to cover cooperation in areas such as political, defence and security, trade and investment and capacity-building and bilateral assistance. India and Vietnam enjoy a strategic understanding at regional and multilateral fora like ASEAN, East Asia Summit, ASEM, ARF and international organisations like WTO and UN.

She suggested both countries take advantage of their synergies to jointly face emerging challenges and also to exploit new opportunities.

The Indian President Pratibha Patil talked about the memories of her visit to Vietnam in November 2008, saying that she was truly impressed by the great strides taken by Vietnam in social and economic development in recent years.

“The Indian people has great admiration for the courage of the Vietnamese people and its warmth and affection towards India. The Vietnamese people’s resilience and determination, under the leadership of President Ho Chi Minh, was instrumental in winning the historic struggle for independence,” she noted.

Pratibha Patil remarked that the Southeast Asian nation has seen rapid economic progress in the recent years and has emerged as one of the most promising markets. Its all-round economic and social development has resulted in increased prosperity and higher living standards for its people.

She commended the Vietnamese leaders on their vision and leadership, expressing her confidence that Vietnam will continue to march on its current path of national construction, development and modernisation in the years to come./.