Indian President Ram Nath Kovind (Source: VNA)
 
New Delhi (VNA) – The State visit to Vietnam by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind from November 18 to 20 is meant to help maintain the sound development trend of bilateral relations, a diplomat has said.

In an interview with Vietnam News Agency ahead of the trip, Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau said this is a reciprocal visit following a tour of India by then President Tran Dai Quang last March.

During this visit, the two sides will review what they have and haven’t achieved so as to enhance connections. They will also discuss issues of common concern, especially regional and global matters, he said.

He noted that the political ties and trust between the two countries have been increasingly strengthened through frequent mutual high-ranking visits, especially since they set up the comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016, including the tour of Vietnam by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi (September 2016), and the trips to India by Vietnamese National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan (December 2016), Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (July 2017), Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (January 2018) and then President Tran Dai Quang (March 2018).

Delegation exchanges at all levels have also been increased between their Parties, parliaments, defence ministries, courts and localities. The countries have effectively brought into play dialogue mechanisms and implemented the signed agreements. They have organised strategic dialogues and political consultations at the deputy foreign ministerial level every year, the ambassador said.

Meanwhile, defence-security cooperation is viewed as an important and effective pillar of their comprehensive strategic partnership, as reflected through regular mutual visits between military officers and dialogues at the deputy defence ministerial level.

The defence forces of Vietnam and India are also working closely in information sharing, personnel training and equipment provision. They have maintained dialogue mechanisms and stepped up cooperation in cyber security, counter-terrorism, capacity building, equipment procurement and technology transfer, as well as at regional forums like the ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting-Plus.

Defence cooperation has been lifted to the highest-ever level, and India has become one of the most important defence partners of Vietnam, Chau noted.

Aside from the sound relations in politics-diplomacy and defence-security, bilateral economic-trade partnerships have enjoyed great strides in recent years, he said, elaborating that India has emerged as one of the top 12 trade partners of Vietnam.

Bilateral trade soared by 41 percent from 5.6 billion USD in 2016 to 7.6 billion USD in 2017. It hit 9.2 billion USD between January and October this year, up 47 percent from a year earlier.

As of October 2018, India poured 876.73 million USD into Vietnam, ranking 26th among 127 countries and territories directly investing in the Southeast Asian nation.

There have been a number of exchanges between the two countries’ people and scholars, helping to deepen mutual understanding. An array of cultural activities have been held over the last two years such as photo exhibitions, film festivals, Vietnamese cultural days, the opening of Vietnamese books’ rooms in Indian libraries, and the establishment of a centre for Vietnamese studies, Ambassador Chau said.

Science and technology are also potential cooperation areas that are being promoted by both sides, the diplomat said, noting that many IT firms of India have opened branches in Vietnam, and many Vietnamese scientists have also received training in India over the past years. However, their collaboration in these areas has yet to meet expectations.

He said the countries also boast huge potential for tourism development. Almost 120,000 Indians toured Vietnam in 2017, up 30 percent year on year, and the number is expected to reach 150,000 – 170,000 this year. Meanwhile, the South Asian nation welcomes some 20,000 Vietnamese tourists every year, most of whom make pilgrimages to the Buddhist land and visit cultural and heritage sites of India.-VNA