External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid on Thursday said India-Vietnam strategic partnership is characterised by warm and close bilateral relations and high degree of trust and understanding at political levels.
Khurshid said high level visits have played a very important role in consolidating and strengthening the relations between the two sides.
"Regular meetings between our PM and Vietnamese leaders have taken place on the sidelines of multilateral summit meetings. The institutional architecture of the India-Vietnam strategic partnership is based on the joint declaration on Strategic Partnership of 2007 and dialogue mechanisms and agreements," said Khurshid.
"Vietnam has regularly reiterated its support for India's candidature for permanent membership of an expanded UNSC. It has also signed the G-4 Draft Resolution on reforms of the UNSC," he added.
Khurshid said India-Vietnam security and defence cooperation is robust and growing, based on shared interests and a convergence in our security perceptions.
"Economic ties have expanded with Vietnam receiving substantial Indian private sector investments and growing trade. Bilateral trade has grown to 6.1 billion US Dollars in 2012-13. We are well on track to cross the target of 7 billion US Dollars by 2015. Investments by Indian companies totals about 936 million US Dollars in 86 projects insectors such as oil and gas exploration, mineral exploration and processing, sugar manufacturing, agro-chemicals, IT, and agricultural processing," said Khurshid.
"Recently, Vietnam has chosen Tata Power as developer for a 1.8 billion US Dollars 2X660 MW Long Phu 2 Thermal Power Project in Soc Trang Province in southern Vietnam, despite strong competition from Korean and Russian companies. It will be the single largest Indian investment in Vietnamwhen it comes through and will give a strong boost to our economic cooperation and the strategic partnership. TheMoU between the two Central Banks, viz. Reserve Bank of India and the State Bank of Vietnam, signed in 2012, will enable Bank of India and Indian Overseas Bankto upgrade their representative offices that they opened in Ho Chi Minh City in February 2003 and March 2008 respectively into full-fledged branches in near future," he added.
Khurshid said 'India has extended 17 LoCs totalling 164.5 mn US Dollars, including19.5 million US Dollars LoC for setting up Nam Trai-IV hydropower project and Binh Bo Pumping station, signed today'.
"India has also agreed to consider earmarking USD 100 million under the Buyer's Credit under the National Export Insurance Account (BC-NEIA) for use by Vietnam," he added.
Asserting that the two countries have strong cooperation in capacity building and human resources development, Khurshid said: "Vietnam has been participating actively in training programmes under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme. Presently, 150 ITEC slots are being offered to Vietnamevery year along with 16 scholarships under the General Cultural Scholarship Scheme (GCSS), 14 scholarships under the Educational Exchange Programme (EEP) and 10 scholarships under the MGC Scholarship Scheme."
The External Affairs Minister said India has set upa 2 millionUS Dollars Vietnam-India Advanced Resource Centre in ICT (ARC-ICT) in Hanoi and is providing a PARAM Supercomputer, costing Rs. 4.7cr, as a grant, for use in multiple applications.
"The Vietnam-India Entrepreneurship Development Centre (VIEDC) and a Vietnam-India English Language Training Center (VICELT) have been established with Indian assistance under the IAI (Initiative for ASEAN Integration) as well. An IBSA funded Rice Seed Improvement Project in Danang is ongoing," said Khurshid.
"We plan to establish an Indian Cultural Centre in Hanoi this year and hope that it will further promote cultural cooperation between the two countries.Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) is about to finalise an agreement on conservation of the ancient remains of the Cham Civilization at My Son.This will help revive our ancient heritage and cultural links," he added.
Khurshid said New Delhi attaches great importance to the development of our relations with Vietnam and move forward on India-Vietnam strategic partnership by adding more content in all areas.
"You will recall, the year 2012 marked the 40th anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between India and Vietnam, the 5thanniversary of the India-Vietnam Strategic Partnership, the 20th anniversary of partnership between India and ASEAN. The two sides celebrated it as the 'Year of Friendship between India and Vietnam'," he added.
Expressing his delight to welcome Pham Binh Minh, Foreign Minister of Vietnam for the 15thmeeting of the Joint Commission, Khurshid said: "He has a deep connection with India and has many friends here. It is like home coming".
"This morning, we had a meeting to discuss the strengthening of our strategic partnership which included exchange of a cooperative agenda on bilateral relations and regional and global issues. I am satisfied that theIndia-Vietnam Strategic Partnership is developing well," said Khurshid in his opening statement to the Media during 15th meeting of India-Vietnam Joint Commission.
"We have agreed to consolidate our activities and add greater content to the partnership and bilateral relations in the fields of defence and security, trade and investment, science and technology, information technology, capacity building and human resource development, agriculture, education and culture and other areas of common interest," he added. (ANI)