The Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam and the Indian Embassy in Hanoi jointly held a workshop themed “Vietnam-India Strategic Partnership: Future Orientations” in Hanoi on July 17.

The event marked the 40 th anniversary of Vietnam-India diplomatic ties (1972-2012) and five years of the establishment of strategic partnership between the two countries (2007-2012).

It was also an important activity in the Vietnam-India Friendship Year 2012, agreed by the two countries’ leaders during President Truong Tan Sang’s official visit to India in October 2011.

Participants at the event said that Vietnam and India own a time-honoured traditional friendship, which was fostered by President Ho Chi Minh and Prime Minister J. Nehru.

Over the past 40 years, in any circumstance, India has always been a reliable and faithful friend of Vietnam and supported the Vietnamese people’s legitimate struggle in the past, as well as their current national renewal and development.

The Vietnam-India relationship is being strengthened, especially since the two countries signed a joint statement on the official establishment of their strategic partnership in 2007.

The two sides have exchanged high-ranking delegations and effectively implemented bilateral cooperation agreements, as well as coordinated with each other at regional and international forums.

Cooperation mechanisms such as the Vietnam-India inter-governmental committee on science-technology and culture-education, political consultations and strategic dialogue between the two Foreign Ministries have proved effective, helping further strengthen the mutual trust and understanding.

The Vietnam-India economic, trade and investment relations have developed rapidly. Two-way trade between the two nations reached 3.9 billion USD in 2011, quadrupling the figure of five years ago. In the first six months of this year, the bilateral trade was 1.89 billion USD.

Vietnam-India trade has had a stable legal framework and India has recognised Vietnam as a market economy.

A number of investment cooperation projects have been set up between the two sides, including a joint venture project on oil and gas exploration between India ’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited (ONGC) and the Vietnam National Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam). A project between the Vietnam Steel Corporation and the Vietnam Rubber Group and India ’s Tata Steel Group to invest in building a steel plant in central Ha Tinh province is also highly valued.

Bilateral cooperation in science and technology has been developed since 1978 with the signing of cooperation agreements between the two governments.

The Vietnam-India subcommittee on scientific and technological cooperation has to date convened eight sessions and carried out 13 joint research projects in information technology, agriculture, animal husbandry, industry, remote sensing and environmental protection.

India has helped Vietnam train experts and researchers in the fields of atomic energy and IT human resource training.

At the workshop, many proposals were put forth to further strengthen the strategic partnership between Vietnam and India, including increasing the exchange of visits at all levels, stepping up research cooperation between Vietnamese and Indian agencies and institutes as well as perfecting common legal frameworks between the two nations.

Participants stressed the need to set up a joint trade committee at an early date and cooperate in building scientific-technological parks in Vietnam .

In addition to bilateral issues, they also discussed regional and international issues, especially the emerging security architecture in Asia-Pacific.-VNA