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Vietnam to seek energy cooperation

Vietnamese PM will seek enhanced energy cooperation, including in the field of nuclear energy, when he visits New Delhi from July 4 to 6, reports Madhur Singh.

world Updated: Jun 26, 2007 01:57 IST
Madhur Singh
Madhur Singh
Hindustan Times

Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung will seek enhanced energy cooperation, including in the field of nuclear energy, when he visits New Delhi from July 4 to 6.

"India is welcome to produce energy in Vietnam, using coal, gas or nuclear power," he told a group of Indian journalists in Hanoi prior to his visit to India, adding, "We support civil nuclear technology use and want to cooperate with Indian in developing nuclear technology."

Vietnam has already held one round of discussions with the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA, the international nuclear watchdog) on this issue.

Clocking seven per cent annual growth for the past several years, Vietnam aims to be a developed and industrialised country by 2020.

Not only will it need ever-increasing amounts of energy to attain the targeted eight per cent annual growth until 2010, it could also be expected to eye nuclear energy for strategic purposes.

The Prime Minister also sought greater investment by Indian oil and gas players.

Vietnam has confirmed oil and gas reserves of 1.1 billion tonnes, of which 600 million tonnes are natural gas. So far, only ONGC Videsh Ltd has a presence there.

Terming India's "Look East" policy "suitable", the Prime Minister said he looked forward to greater trade and investment between the two countries. Nguyen said he would be accompanied by a large business delegation during his visit, and the agenda would include signing an agreement on tourism.

Riding on the back of both countries' spectacular growth in the past few years, trade has gone up from just $5m in 1995 to $1 bn in 2006, and is hugely in favour of India.

On the other hand, the flow of investment has been largely from India to Vietnam, with Tata Steel and Essar Steel's $3.7 bn and $527 m investments making India the 10th largest investor in the country.

The Vietnamese leader reaffirmed his country's support to India for its bid for a permanent seat on the UN Security Council. Nguyen also said that Vietnam would be happy to continue to act as a bridge between India and Asean (Association of South East Asian Nations).

First Published: Jun 26, 2007 01:51 IST