India will deepen defence cooperation with Vietnam: Kovind

Hanoi, Nov 20 (UNI) India on Tuesday said it would deepen defence and security cooperation with Vietnam which appreciated the $100 million Indian credit line to build 12 high-speed patrol vessels for the Southeast Asian country.

“India guarantees to deepen [Vietnam and India’s] national defence and security cooperation,” President Ram Nath Kovind said at a joint press conference with President Nguyen Phu Trong.

He said Vietnam was a strategic pillar in India’s Act East policy and an important dialogue partner in ASEAN.

Vietnam will take over the ASEAN Chair in 2020.

The President said that India looked forward to enhanced bilateral cooperation in the maritime domain through the first Bilateral Maritime Security Dialogue to be hosted by Vietnam in early 2019.

“I am confident,” Kovind said, “that the programme of regular and friendly visits to each other’s ports by naval and coast guard ships from our countries will upgrade cooperation.”

Trong said defence and security has been an important pillar of Vietnam-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, and Hanoi greatly valued India’s assistance and also support to it on the South China Sea dispute.

“We appreciate India’s progress in implementing a $100 million credit line to build high speed patrol vessels for the Vietnam Border Defence Force,” said Trong.

Trong also said Vietnam appreciated the continuing cooperation between Vietnam’s PetroVietnam and India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation to explore and extract oil and natural gas in Vietnam.

President Kovind also held talks with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc. Both leaders discussed wide ranging issues of interest to the two countries, including trade and business ties, cooperation in energy and regional security.

He said that India offered “a cooperation model that does not require its friends to make choices but rather expands choices and expands opportunities for all; that opens not one but many roads.”

India has consistently supported ASEAN’s unity and centrality and ASEAN-led mechanisms for regional security and economic architecture – to promote peace and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific Region.

The President also said that the ocean system is a resource for Vietnam and India and for many other countries and communities.

Vietnam and India shared a vision for the Indo-Pacific Region, of which the South China Sea is a critical component. “We share a vision of a rules-based order that respects sovereignty and territorial integrity, ensures freedom of navigation and over-flight, as well as unimpeded, lawful commerce.”

He aid Indian investors are keen to strengthen their presence in sectors like renewable energy, infrastructure, agriculture, textiles, pharmaceuticals, and oil and gas. India also looks forward to cooperation with Vietnam in improving agricultural productivity.

At a business forum on Monday, Deputy Prime Minister Trịnh Đình Dũng suggested both sides intensify investment in the fields that India has strength and Việt Nam has demand, expand aviation and maritime connectivity, reduce and step and step remove trade barriers, and facilitate import-export activities.

Nguyen Quoc Toan, Acting Director General of Agro Processing and Market Development Department, under the Ministry of Agriculture and Rural Development, said the two sides are working to import five Vietnamese fruits, including blue dragons, longans, pomelos, rambutans and durians, to India and the export of three Indian fruits — grapes, pomegranates, and millet– to Vietnam.

The Insides Speak.