Your Excellency, Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung Members of the Media,
I am delighted to welcome Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to India. His third visit to India is a testimony to his strong confidence and interest in the relations between our two countries.
Since entering office, my government has promptly and purposefully intensified our engagement in the Asia Pacific region, which is critical to India’s future.It is no surprise that Vietnam has been at the forefront of our efforts. Our President paid a highly successful State visit to Vietnam in September; our External Affairs Minister visited Vietnam in August.
India and Vietnam share ancient spiritual and cultural links, which is reflected in Prime Minister Dung’s visit to Bodh Gaya before coming to Delhi. We are two developing nations. We have been steadfast in our support for each other and we have stood with each other in difficult moments. We in India admire the people of Vietnam for the courage and resolve with which they have overcome many formidable challenges to their nation.
Today, our partnership is important for promoting our nations’prosperity and essential for advancing peace and stability in our shared neighbourhood. We have shared interest in maritime security, including freedom of navigation and commerce and peaceful settlement of maritime disputes in accordance with international law.
In our discussions today, Prime Minister Dung and I had strong convergence of views on our region and how to further deepen our bilateral relations.
Our defence cooperation with Vietnam is among our most important ones. India remains committed to the modernization of Vietnam’s defence and security forces. This will include expansion of our training programme, which is already very substantial, joint exercises and cooperation in defence equipment. We will quickly operationalise the 100 million dollars Line of Credit that will enable Vietnam acquire new naval vessels from India. We have also agreed to enhance our security cooperation, including in counter-terrorism.
We have also agreed to increase our cooperation in Space, including in space applications and launch of Vietnam’s satellites, and in peaceful uses of civil nuclear energy.
We emphasized the need for stronger economic relationship as an essential component of a strong strategic partnership. We see great opportunities for increased trade and enhanced Indian participation in areas such energy, infrastructure, textiles, chemicals, machinery, agro-processing and information technology in Vietnam. We have offered to discuss additional lines of credit to support Vietnam’s efforts to diversify its industry and economic linkages.
Vietnam’s recent decisions on infrastructure projects for Indian companies, the award of a banking licence to Bank of India and commencement of direct air links through Jet Airways and Vietnam Airlines reflect the new momentum in our economic relations.
I thanked Prime Minister for Vietnam’s commitment to collaboration with India in its oil and gas sector and its additional offer of exploration blocks. We will continue to deepen our cooperation in this sector and associated downstream industry.
Cultural, academic and people-to-people exchanges constitute an equally important pillar of our relationship. The agreements that we have signed today – MoU on Conservation and Restoration of Cham Monuments at My Son, MoU on Vietnam’s participation in the Nalanda University and MoU on Audio Visual Cooperation – are just some of the steps that we are taking to promote greater contacts and tourism between our two countries.
I have thanked Prime Minister Dung for Vietnam’s co-sponsorship of the resolution in the UN General Assembly to declare June 21 as the International Yoga Day.
I conveyed my appreciation for Vietnam’s consistent support to India’s candidature for permanent membership of a reformed United Nations Security Council. We will continue to work together in regional forums, including the forthcoming East Asia Summit and India-ASEAN Summit, for peace, stability and prosperity in the region.
As Vietnam assumes the role ofASEAN Coordinator for India in 2015, I am confident that India’s integration with our ASEAN partners will get a further impetus.
I am very happy to say that the State Visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, together with our President’s visit last month,has not only strengthened our traditional friendship, but also accelerated the momentum of our Strategic Partnership.