HANOI: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday announced a new Defence Line of Credit for Vietnam of USD five hundred million for facilitating deeper defence cooperation with Vietnam.
Prime Minister Modi, while delivering a joint statement with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, said Vietnam holds a special place in the hearts of the people of his generation.
“The links between our societies go back over 2000 years. The advent of Buddhism from India to Vietnam and the monuments of Vietnam’s Hindu Cham temples stand testimony to these bonds. For people of my generation, Vietnam holds a special place in our hearts. The bravery of the Vietnamese people in gaining independence from colonial rule has been a true inspiration. And, your success in national reunification and commitment to nation building reflects the strength of character of your people. We in India have admired your determination, rejoiced in your success and have been with you all along in your national journey,” said Prime Minister Modi.
He insisted that his conversation with Prime Minister Phuc was extensive and productive and their 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. Our decision to upgrade our strategic partnership to a comprehensive strategic partnership captures the intent and path of our future cooperation. It will provide a new direction, momentum and substance to our bilateral cooperation. Our common efforts will also contribute to stability, security and prosperity in this region,” he said.
“We realize that our efforts to bring economic prosperity to our people need to be accompanied by steps to secure them. Prime Minister and I have, therefore, agreed to deepen our defence and security engagement to advance our common interests. The agreement on construction of offshore patrol boats signed earlier today is one of the steps to give concrete shape to our defence engagement. I am also happy to announce a new Defence Line of Credit for Vietnam of US$ Five Hundred 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 added.
Prime Minister Modi further said India and its 1.25 billion people stand ready to be Vietnam's partner and a friend in this journey.
“India will be offering a grant of USD five million 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 Organization to meet its national development objectives,” he said.
“Enhancing bilateral commercial engagement is also our strategic objective. For this, new trade and business opportunities will be tapped to achieve the trade target of fifteen billion dollars 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 added.
Prime Minister Modi insisted that ASEAN is important to India in terms of historical links, geographical proximity cultural ties and the strategic space that both countries share.
“It is central to our 'Act East' policy. Under Vietnam's leadership as ASEAN Coordinator for India, we will work towards a strengthened India-ASEAN partnership across all areas,” he said.
India and Vietnam today inked a dozen of agreements, including protocol on double taxation avoidance agreement, to foster better ties between the two sides.
“12 for togetherness! India & Vietnam sign a dozen agreements for further strengthening the Strategic Partnership,” tweeted Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) official spokesperson Vikas Swarup.
The other agreements signed are cooperation in exploration and use of outer space for peaceful purposes, MoU between BIS and STAMEQ for mutual recognition of standards, contact with L&T for utilization of $100 million LoC for offshore Patrol boats, cooperation in the field of health, celebrating 2017 as ‘Year of Friendship’.