Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Photo: VNA
Prime Minister of the Republic of India Narendra Modi paid an official visit to Viet Nam on 2-3 September at the invitation of Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. This was the first official bilateral visit by an Indian Prime Minister to Viet Nam for 15 years.
During the visit, Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc had talks and witnessed the signing of bilateral documents. Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid a courtesy call to Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, State President Tran Dai Quang and Chairwoman of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan. Earlier, Prime Minister Narendra Modi laid wreath at the Monument of Heroes and Martyrs, and paid a floral tribute to President Ho Chi Minh at his Mausoleum, and visited Uncle Ho's house-on-stilts and Quan Su Pagoda in Ha Noi.
Viet Nam and India have been traditional friends for a long time and are strategic partner in foreign policy. So, in this visit the two Prime Minister discussed a variety of issues related to bilateral and multilateral relations.
At the talks and contacts, the two sides agreed to further strengthen high-level visits and exchanges at all levels, promote Party and Parliament relations, establish relations between localities, uphold efficiency of the dialogue mechanism which has been set up and effectively implemented agreements already signed between the two sides. Both sides suggested the ministries concerned to take practical and concrete measures to raise the two-way trade turnover to US$ 15 billion in 2020, encouraged agencies and businesses of the two sides to grasp opportunities for cooperation in priority areas and boost two-way investment between Viet Nam and India.
The two sides agreed to strengthen cooperation in oil and gas sector, promote cooperation in the field of renewable energy, enhance connectivity in banking and finance in order to promote economic relations between the two countries, strengthen exchanges and cooperation in tourism, culture and people exchanges, especially youth exchanges. India announced to annually provide special scholarship for postgraduate studies to Viet Nam Buddhist Sangha majoring Buddhism and Sanskrit learning in India. India confirmed to continue building capacity for Viet Nam through the Indian Technical and Economic Programme (ITEC) and provide scholarships to students, and employees of Viet Nam.
The two sides expressed satisfaction on cooperation programs in the field of peacekeeping, agreed to strengthen cooperation especially at the United Nations, the Non-Aligned Movement, the World Trade Organization, ASEAN and ASEAN related forums, reaffirmed the desire and determination to cooperate in order to maintain peace, stability, development and prosperity in Asia and the world. The two sides acknowledged the Verdict on 12 July 2016 of the Permanent Court of Arbitration constituted under Annex VII of the 1982 UN Convention Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), while emphasizing the support for peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and aviation, and unimpeded commerce, on the basis of the principles of international law, especially the principles reflected in UNCLOS.
After the talks, the two Prime Minister witnessed the signing of a series of important agreements between the two countries such as the Framework Agreement between the Government of Viet Nam and the Government of India on cooperation in the exploitation and use of space for peaceful purposes; the Protocol amending the Agreement on avoidance of double taxation; the Cooperation program in the field of peacekeeping; the Protocol between the Viet Nam Ministry of Foreign Affairs and Minister of External Affairs of India about celebrating the “Year of Friendship” in 2017; the Memorandum of Understanding on Health cooperation; the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in Information Technology; the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation between the Academy of Social Sciences of Viet Nam and the Indian Council on World Affairs; the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation on Cyber Security; the Memorandum of Understanding on cooperation in the field of standardization and quality assessment; the Agreement on the construction of infrastructure for training of high-quality information technology; the Technical Agreement on the exchange of demilitarized maritime information; and the Contract on providing high-speed patrol boats.
Viet Nam and India have had close traditional relations rooted in the struggle for freedom of the two countries led by Prime Minister Mahatma Gandhi and President Ho Chi Minh. India did not only stand by Viet Nam in the struggle for freedom, but also in the reunification period. The late 1970s and 1980s were a difficult time for Viet Nam, India was one of the few countries to side with Viet Nam while it was in need of help. Given the population under the age of 35, both India and Viet Nam have young and dynamic population. Therefore, it is important to ensure the future of the two countries. The focus of the relationship between Viet Nam and India must be built towards fulfilling the aspirations of the youth of the two countries. In addition, with similarities in history, traditional culture and religion, though friendship and mutual understanding have been tested through the historic upheavals, the young generation must have the mission to enrich the heritage.
Currently, India is implementing the “Act East Policy” to build partnership with Eastern neighbors including cooperation on security, strategy, politics, defense and counter-terrorism, in addition to economic relations. This policy highlights the importance of neighboring countries of India in Asia’s Eastern region as well as priorities for cooperation in its foreign policy. Viet Nam is now an indispensable member of ASEAN and also a very important pillar in India’s “Act East Policy.”
The visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Viet Nam aimed to strengthen friendship, solidarity and comprehensive cooperation between the two countries as well as to further promote bilateral and multilateral cooperation on political, economic, trade, and cultural fields, human resource development, science and technology, space research, defense and security. Promotion of multi-dimensional relationship between the two countries is also for stability, peace, economic growth and prosperity in both countries, within and outside Asia.
The success of the visit strengthens the trust between the two countries' leaders and traditional friendly relations and deepen Viet Nam-India Strategic Partnership on all aspects of multilateral and bilateral ties and bringing the relations to a new development, meeting the interests of the two peoples, for peace, stability, cooperation and development in the region and around the world.