New Delhi, March 3 (IANS) External Affairs Minister called on visiting Vietnam President Tran Dai Quang and discsueed ways to further deepen the bilateral relationship.
“Discussion focused on steps to further strengthen our comprehensive strategic partnership by expanding cooperation across all sectors,” External Affairs Ministry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.
During Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Vietnam in 2017 the bilateral relationship was elevated from Strategic Partnership to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnerhip.
Modi and Quang will hold a bilateral meeting later in the day following which a number of agreements are expected to be signed.
The visiting dignitary will also attend a Vietnam-India Business Forum and the opening ceremony of the Vietnam Days in India 2018.
Vietnam is an important partner in southeast Asia under New Delhi’s Act East Policy and is currently the country coordinator for India with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) regional bloc, a role that will be handed over to Thailand later this year.
Apart from Asean, India and Vietnam closely cooperate in other regional forums such as the East Asia Summit, Mekong Ganga Cooperation, Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) besides the UN and WTO.
India-Vietnam trade stood at $6.24 billion in fiscal 2016-17 and the two sides have agreed to raise this to $15 billion by 2020.
Defence has emerged as an important pillar of the bilateral relationship and Indian ships regularly make friendly port calls to Vietnam.
India is also an important development aid partner for Vietnam and has extended several lines of credit for capacity building in the southeast Asian nation.
Vietnam is also among the larger recipients of scholarships offered under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.