Vietnam pivotal to Act East policy, says President Ram Nath Kovind
Vietnam has been bolstering its military capabilities in the face of aggressive moves by China in the South China Sea. India and Vietnam have robust defence cooperation dating back almost two decades, including exchange of visits, supply of equipment, and training of air force pilots and submariners.Updated: Nov 21, 2018 09:06 IST
India and Vietnam have agreed to boost bilateral trade and expand cooperation in oil and gas and defence, including the implementation of a $100 million line of credit to build patrol vessels, President Ram Nath Kovind said on Tuesday.
Vietnam has been bolstering its military capabilities in the face of aggressive moves by China in the South China Sea. India and Vietnam have robust defence cooperation dating back almost two decades, including exchange of visits, supply of equipment, and training of air force pilots and submariners.
“We are committed to further deepen our defence and security cooperation. I reiterated India’s commitment to provide training support for Vietnam’s armed forces,” Kovind told a joint news briefing in Hanoi with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Phu Trong. The two leaders reviewed the implementation of an Indian credit line of $100 million to build four high-speed patrol vessels for Vietnam’s Coast Guard. Kovind said they also agreed to strengthen cooperation in peaceful uses of atomic energy and outer space, science and technology, oil and gas, infrastructure, agriculture and innovation-based sectors.
Kovind said he was confident the two sides will achieve the target of boosting bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2020, up from $12.8 billion last year. Trong, who also heads the Communist Party, said the two sides will find ways to boost their modest investment. India currently has 182 investment projects worth $816 mn in Vietnam, while Vietnamese businesses have only seven projects in India worth about $6 million.
Kovind is only the second foreign leader to address the Vietnamese Parliament after China’s President Xi Jinping.
In his address to the National Assembly, Kovind said Vietnam is “pivotal to India’s ‘Act East’ policy” and both countries are “stakeholders in the commerce, security and stability of the Indo-Pacific region”.
He added, “Vietnam and India share a vision for the Indo-Pacific region, of which the South China Sea is a critical component….”
Close on the heels of Kovind’s three-day visit, Indian Army chief Gen Bipin Rawat will travel to Vietnam on November 22-25 for interactions with the military hierarchy, including Gen Ngo Xuan Lich, the defence minister.
First Published: Nov 21, 2018 09:05 IST