Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh (right) and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj co-chair the 16th Meeting of the Vietnam-India Joint Committee (Photo: VNA)

Hanoi (VNA) – Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh and Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj co-chaired the 16th Meeting of the Vietnam-India Joint Committee on Economic, Commercial, Scientific, and Technological Cooperation in Hanoi on August 28.

In their remarks at the meeting, Minh and Swaraj praised the long-standing relations between Vietnam and India, highlighting that the bilateral ties have made significant progress with several important milestones since the last joint committee’s meeting in 2013.

The two countries lifted their relations to the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in September 2016 and successfully hosted the Vietnam-India Friendship Year 2017 to celebrate the 45th anniversary of their diplomatic ties and the 10th year of their strategic partnership.

Political trust has been consolidated through exchanged visits by top leaders of the two sides, they said.

They agreed to promote the visit of Indian top leaders to Vietnam at the earliest convenience and maintain a regular exchange of visits at all levels to implement the Action Plan of the Vietnam-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership for the period of 2017 – 2020.

They also agreed to accelerate the promotion of Indian investment in Vietnam in priority areas such as power, renewable energy, and high-tech agriculture; together with Vietnamese investment in India in the fields of agriculture, farm produce , and aquatic and timber product processing. They both affirmed that the two countries will continue their long-term cooperation in oil and gas, while also seeking collaboration from a third country.

Minh highly appreciated India’s continued provision of non-refundable development aid, soft credit packages, and exclusively designed courses for Vietnamese personnel.

Meanwhile, Swaraj said she is proud to see more and more Vietnamese people pursuing education in India, particularly in technological studies.

The two sides spoke highly of bilateral cooperation in the growing fields of science and technology, culture, tourism, and people-to-people exchange, while at the same time stressed the necessity to set up joint working groups on agriculture, information and communications, healthcare, and information technology, as well as foster negotiations on judicial cooperation.

They hailed the two nations’ close coordination and support for each other at regional and international forums, notably in the United Nations and within the framework of the ASEAN-India partnership and other ASEAN-orientated mechanisms.

Minh welcomed the active role of India and its position in the Indo-Pacific region through its “Act East” policy, while the Indian official highly valued Vietnam’s role as a coordinator for promoting ASEAN-India ties between 2015-2018, saying she is looking forward to Vietnam’s continued cooperation in implementing commitments from the Delhi Declaration (issued at the ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit in January this year).

Both officials reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation and aviation in the East Sea, adding that they backed the settlement of disputes based on international law and without use of force or threat to use force. They also called on involved parties not to complicate the situation in the area and to effectively enforce the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and soon conclude the Code of Conduct (COC) in the East Sea.

On the occasion, the People’s Committee of Ninh Thuan province and the Embassy of India signed a memorandum of understanding for the implementation of seven projects that aim to provide support for Cham people in the province.

The 17th Meeting of the Vietnam-India Joint Committee is scheduled to take place in India in 2020. –VNA