India and Vietnam will expand and deepen cooperation in key areas of defence, security and trade, oil exploration, solar energy and some other sectors after leaders of the two countries meet today in the Vietnamese capital Hanoi to hold bilateral talks.
Prime Minister Narendra Modi, who arrived in Hanoi last night, held talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc on a host of issues concerning the two countries and the region and agreed to scale up and strengthen bilateral engagement.
''Our discussions covered the full range of bilateral and multilateral cooperation. We have agreed to scale up and strengthen our bilateral engagement.
''As two important countries in this region, we also feel it necessary to further our ties on regional and international issues of common concern. We agreed to tap into the growing economic opportunities in the region. We also recognized the need to cooperate in responding to emerging regional challenges,'' Modi said after meeting his Vietnamese counterpart.
India and Vietnam also decided to upgrade their strategic partnership to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and provide future cooperation a new direction, momentum and substance. ''Our common efforts will also contribute to stability, security and prosperity in this region,'' Modi said.
The prime minister began his day by paying homage to national heroes and martyrs at their monuments in the morning. Modi, who is the fourth Indian prime minister to visit Vietnam during past about 50 years, was given a guard of honour and ceremonial welcome by the Vietnamese government.
Prime Minister Modi will also meet Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, Communist Party general secretary Nguyen Phu Trong, National Assembly Chairperson Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.
After meeting with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Modi said since the efforts to bring economic prosperity should be accompanied by steps to secure them, the two countries have agreed to deepen defence and security engagement to advance our common interests.
Modi announced a new Defence Line of Credit for Vietnam of $500 million for facilitating deeper defence cooperation. ''The range of agreements signed just a while ago point to the diversity and depth of our cooperation,'' he said.
India had already signed an agreement to build offshore patrol boats for Vietnam, as part of the steps to give concrete shape to bilateral defence engagement.
Modi said Vietnam is undergoing rapid development and strong economic growth as the country seeks to:
- Empower and enrich its people;
- Modernise its agriculture;
- Encourage entrepreneurship and innovation;
- Strengthen its science and technology base;
- Create new institutional capacities for faster economic development; and
- Take steps to build a modern nation.
India and its 1.25 billion people stand ready to be Vietnam's partner and a friend in this journey. Prime Minister and I agreed to take several decisions today to move on the pledge of our partnership.
Modi also said India will be offering a grant of $5million for the establishment of a software park in the Telecommunications University in Nha Trang. The framework agreement on space cooperation would allow Vietnam to join hands with Indian Space Research Organisation to meet its national development objectives.
In order to enhance bilateral commercial engagement, Modi said, the two countries have agreed to tap new trade and business opportunities to achieve the trade target of $15 billion by 2020. ''I also sought facilitation of ongoing Indian projects and investments in Vietnam. And, have invited Vietnamese companies to take advantage of the various schemes and flagship programmes of my government,'' he said.