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India, Vietnam deepen defence, nuclear ties

India and Vietnam have agreed to raise bilateral relations to the level of a broad-based 'strategic partnership', reports Madhur Singh.
Hindustan Times | By Madhur Singh, New Delhi
UPDATED ON JUL 06, 2007 10:07 PM IST

India and Vietnam have agreed to raise bilateral relations to the level of a broad-based "strategic partnership" that they believe will better enable them to deal with the evolving economic and security environment in the region.

Their partnership will include greater cooperation in defence matters and use of civilian nuclear technology, in addition to furthering economic ties and cooperation at regional and multilateral forums.

A joint declaration on establishing a strategic partnership was signed by Prime Ministers Manmohan Singh and Nguyen Tan Dung on the last day of the latter’s visit to India on Friday. It commits both sides to improving bilateral relations "in the political, economic, security, defense, cultural, science and technological dimensions", and provides the basis for cooperation in regional and multilateral institutions.

As two countries that share borders with China, India and Vietnam will set up an institutionalised strategic dialogue. While the joint statement provides for the setting up of a joint working group on countering terrorism, an MoU has also been signed between the Department of Atomic Energy and Vietnam’s Ministry of Science and Technology for cooperation in the field of nuclear energy.

New Delhi will train personnel from Vietnam and provide assistance to the India-Vietnam Nuclear Science Centre at Dalat in Vietnam. Both sides will also work on developing technology to process Vietnamese uranium ores.

To further expand economic ties, India will provide additional grants and concessional lines of credit to Vietnam. Given the importance of the primary sector to both countries’ economies, an MoU on cooperation in the field of fisheries and aquaculture, and a work plan for cooperation in agricultural technology, have also been signed.

India will also provide English language training in Vietnam at a centre in Danang, under an MoU aimed at helping Vietnam integrate better within ASEAN by narrowing the language barrier.

In addition, both sides will facilitate greater cultural and educational exchanges. In particular, the Archaeological Survey of India will undertake conservation of the Cham monuments in Vietnam, which are symbols of long-standing cultural relations between the two countries.

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