“I believe my visit to India will help lift the two countries’ strategic cooperation to a new height,” Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong has told Indian news agency PTI (Press Trust of India).

In an interview granted to the agency ahead of his trip to the South Asian nation from November 19-22, the Vietnamese Party leader said he paid an official visit to India four years ago in his capacity as Chairman of the National Assembly.

He went on to say that the upcoming state visit will be a good chance for him to further understand India and deepen his previous impression of the country.

Regarding Vietnam-India bilateral ties, the Party chief said the two countries’ relations not only originated from cultural crossings and similarities in many fields but also from solidarity in the fight against colonialists for each country’s independence and the close friendship between their leaders, President Ho Chi Minh and Indian Prime Ministers Jawaharlal Nehru and Indira Gandhi.

The relations have further developed since the two countries established their diplomatic ties in 1972 and lifted their ties to a new height six years ago, he said.

Regarding politics, bilateral relations have been seen in the close cooperation between ministries and branches in the spirit of mutual understanding, viewpoint sharing and collaboration in issues relating to peace and equal cooperation between nations, Party General Secretary Trong noted.

Economic exchanges between the two countries have kept increasing with improved quality and effectiveness, he said, adding that India offered Vietnam precious assistance in education and science development.

Cultural cooperation acts as a social foundation and spirit for the close connection between the two countries, Trong noted, highlighting bilateral defence ties, which have been expanded in the fields of information exchange, policy consultation, personnel training, defence technology and non-traditional security.

The Vietnamese Party leader also expressed his pleasure at the two countries’ relations, saying he believes it will further develop in the future.

He noted Vietnam and India hold potential in cooperation, therefore during his visit, he and Indian leaders will discuss measures to boost the bilateral strategic partnership between the two nations, making it deeper and more productive for the benefit of both people.

India is capable of becoming one of Vietnam’s biggest foreign investors and trade partners, he affirmed.

Vietnam wants and is determined to further consolidate and strengthen its friendship and cooperation with India in the coming time, Party General Trong stressed.

He also reiterated Vietnam’s consistent foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation and development; multilateralism, diversification of international relations, proactive global integration in the spirit of being a friend, a reliable partner and responsible member of the international community.

The Party chief also reaffirmed Vietnam’s policy of resolving East Sea issues through peaceful negotiations in order to reach basic and long-term solutions to the disputes and disagreements between concerned parties on the basis of abiding by international law, especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea.

The parties need to strictly follow the Declaration of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and accelerate the building of a Code of Conduct of Parties in the East Sea (COC), he said, adding that peace, stability, maritime security and mutual cooperation in the East Sea are the essential interests of many countries both in and outside the region.

“We highly appreciate India’s constructive viewpoint on the issue,” he affirmed.

India and ASEAN lifted their ties to the strategic partnership level in 2012 from the level of dialogue partners set up 20 years ago.

India is currently ASEAN’s sixth largest trade partner with two-way trade reaching nearly 72 billion USD. The figure is expected to climb to 100 billion USD by 2015.

ASEAN attaches importance to and highly values India’s active role in the ASEAN Regional Forum, East Asia Summit, its viewpoint regarding East Sea issues and its support to the establishment of the ASEAN Community.

As an active ASEAN member and a close friend of India, Vietnam will do its utmost to contribute to fostering and strengthening the ASEAN-India strategic partnership, the Vietnamese Party leader affirmed.-VNA