New Delhi: The Vice President of India, M. Venkaiah Naidu emphasized the importance of building a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region on the basis of respect for national sovereignty and international law and expressed the hope that the concerned countries would be able to reach a consensus on Code of Conduct in South China Sea.
On the second day of his four-day official visit to Vietnam, Naidu held wide-ranging high-level talks with top Vietnamese leadership, including the Vice President, Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh and Chairperson of the National Assembly of Vietnam, Nguyen Kim Thi Ngan and attended a Banquet Lunch hosted in his honour.
Naidu said that his talks with Vice President, Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, this morning, were extensive and productive. “Our discussions covered the whole range of bilateral and multilateral cooperation”, he added.
In a joint press statement issued along with Vietnam’s Vice President, Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, Naidu said that both India and Vietnam were fully committed to an open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based regional architecture based on freedom of navigation and over flight, unimpeded economic activities and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with the international law.
During his talks with the Vietnamese leadership, the Vice President expressed confidence that the interactions would provide a new direction, momentum and substance to the bilateral cooperation between the two countries. He told them that the exchange of high level visits from both the sides was a clear indication of the commitment of both the countries to further strengthen Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. India’s commitment to be a reliable development partner was stronger than before, he added.
Describing Vietnam as a “strategic pillar of India’s Act East Policy and our key interlocutor in ASEAN”, the Vice President said India’s commitment to be a reliable development partner was stronger than before. He said that both the countries agreed to further strengthen bilateral cooperation in defence and security, outer space, science and technology, oil and gas, renewable energy, infrastructure development, agriculture and innovation-based sectors.
Stating that the bilateral defence and security cooperation between the two countries was robust, Naidu said India was providing extensive training support to Vietnamese Armed Forces and the implementation of the Line of Credit of US Dollars 100 million for building high speed patrol vessels for Vietnamese Border Guards was progressing satisfactorily.
Referring to bilateral trade, which stood at nearly US Dollars 14 billion last year having nearly doubled from US Dollars 7.8 billion three years ago, the Vice President expressed confidence of achieving bilateral trade target of US Dollars 15 billion by 2020.
Calling for relaxing trade barriers and facilitating free trade between the two countries, he said the huge potential for expanding bilateral trade and should be fully realized.
Naidu also said that he was looking forward for direct air connectivity between our two countries with the Indian civil aviation carrier Indigo planning to start direct flights between India and Vietnam later this year. This step would go a long way in boosting bilateral trade and tourism exchanges.
The Vice President assured that India would continue the long-term and short duration scholarships and training programmes provided under ITEC programme and by the Indian Council for Cultural Relations. These programmes have been most effectively used in the agriculture sector, making a tangible difference in the lives of the Vietnamese people.
The Vice President also extended an invitation to his Vietnamese counterpart, Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh, who accepted the same.
Naidu was also appreciative of the Vietnamese cuisine and the traditional Vietnamese music played during the Banquet Lunch.
Earlier, the Vice President visited the Monument of National Heroes and Martyrs and paid tributes.