Vietnam always attaches importance to strengthening the traditional friendship and strategic partnership with India, said Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh.

Ninh made the affirmation at talks with Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid in New Delhi on January 9, during his visit to India to attend a ceremony reviewing the Vietnam-India 2012 Friendship Year.

At the meeting, the two sides discussed orientations and measures to foster bilateral ties in the coming time, as well as regional and international issues of common concern.

They expressed their pleasure at jointly organised activities during the Vietnam-India 2012 Friendship Year, as well as developments in bilateral ties over the last 40 years, especially since 2007, when the two countries established a strategic partnership.

The two sides affirmed a determination to make their strategic partnership more practical and effective.

They agreed to increase the exchange of high-ranking delegations, implement signed agreements and maintain existing cooperation mechanisms in 2013.

They reached a consensus on the establishment of a joint committee on trade, agreements on the transfer of prisoners, mutual judicial assistance in civil matters, a supplementary agreement to the 1993 Aviation Agreement, and a cooperative agreement between the two Ministries of Justice.

The two sides agreed to raise two-way trade to 7 billion USD by 2015, and strengthen cooperation in defence, culture, education and people-to-people exchange.

Deputy PM Ninh said that Vietnam welcomes and creates favourable conditions for Indian investors to operate in the country.

The Indian side agreed to provide preferential credit for Vietnam to accelerate the country’s hydropower, irrigation and infrastructure projects.

Both sides agreed to cooperate at international and regional forums, and affirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, maritime security and safety, and the right to access natural resources in the East Sea .

Concerned parties in the East Sea should practice restraint, avoid using force or threatening to use force, and solve disputes through peaceful negotiations on the basis of international law, in particular the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), ASEAN’s Six-Point Principles on the East Sea, the implementation of the Declaration on Conduct of the Parties in the East Sea (DOC) and the early conclusion of a Code of Conduct (COC), they said.

After the talks, Ninh and Khurshid met with the press to announce the outcomes of their talks.

On the same day, the Deputy PM had a meeting with Deputy Chairman of the Indian Planning Commission, Montek Singh Ahlwalia, and received a delegation from the India-Vietnam Friendship Association.

Earlier on January 8, he visited the Vietnamese Embassy in India.-VNA