[Vietnam], Nov 20 (ANI): President Ram Nath Kovind, while addressing the National Assembly of Vietnam here on Tuesday, said that "India offers a cooperation model that does not require its friends to make choices but rather expands choices and expands opportunities for all."
President Kovind started his speech by thanking the National Assembly, the government and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Phu Trong for extending to him the invitation to visit the Asian country.
President Kovind underlined that both India and Vietnam remain committed to cooperation in multilateral organisations as well as areas of emerging risks, like as cyber-security.
The President also thanked Vietnam for its support in "building consensus for an early adoption of a Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism at the United Nations."
President Kovind, who started his three-day visit to Vietnam on Sunday, landed in Hanoi on Monday.
Earlier today, he participated in the wreath-laying ceremony at the Monument of National Heroes and at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. He is scheduled to attend the state banquet later in the day before wrapping up his Vietnam visit and leaving for Australia.
This is President Kovind's first visit to a South East Asian country ever since he took over as the president last year.
The two countries, earlier this year, set a trade target of USD 15 billion by 2020. As per Indian data, bilateral trade between Vietnam and India is about USD 12.8 billion registering an increase of 27 per cent.
"Sustained high levels of economic growth, combined with vision and foresight of its leadership, has seen rapid progress and prosperity. Per capita GDP in this country has gone up from less than USD 100 in 1990 to over USD 2500 today, making a huge difference in the lives of ordinary citizens," President Kovind said in his address to the Vietnamese National Assembly.
President Kovind reiterated that Indian investors, manufacturers and services providers see Vietnam with much excitement and look forward to cooperation in textiles, agriculture, biotech, IT, energy, pharmaceuticals, infrastructure and minerals.
At the same time, President Kovind also focused on the global issue of climate change, saying that the challenge "poses a danger to all humankind, but coastal nations such as India and Vietnam feel the pressure that much more." The President also underscored the need for a push towards renewable energy.
He further sought a quick resolution in maritime conflicts in the Indo-Pacific region, especially the South China Sea, saying, "Vietnam and India share 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 commerce."
Meanwhile, the President deeply appreciated the rapid progress made by Vietnam in eradicating corruption and poverty in recent years.
President Kovind, on Monday addressed a business delegation in Hanoi where he congratulated Vietnam for their "stupendous success" in building the country's economy.
"Vietnam and India business partnership speaks for itself. With matching growth and lucrative business prospects on both sides, there is little convincing to be done," said President Kovind, adding that "Indian growth presents opportunities for two-way engagement in financial services, IT, digital economy, hydro-carbons, defence, renewable energy, mining, health-care, tourism and civil aviation sectors. We want Vietnam to collaborate with us in our flagship programmes - Make in India, Clean India, Start-up India, and Digital India."
India's investments in Vietnam calculate to almost USD 1.66 billion. India has 93 projects in Vietnam with a total investment of about USD 1 billion, while Vietnam has three investment projects in India with a total investment of USD 23.6 million.
Saying that the two Asian countries are on a path to achieve the target of 15 billion US dollars bilateral trade by the year 2020, the Indian leader laid out a roadmap for the future of India-Vietnam relationship.
President Kovind also underscored the common historical and cultural bonds shared between the two Asian countries. During his address, the Indian President highlighted the "great significance" of 2019, as it "marks the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi and in Vietnam it is being commemorated as the 50th anniversary of the passing of the great Ho Chi Minh."
The Indian President fondly reflected on his visit to the Museum of Cham Culture as well as the My Son temple complex in the city of Da Nang the previous day, noting the contribution of the Archaeological Survey of India in restoring "cultural marvels" in the historic site.
President Kovind will complete his Vietnam trip today and then embark on a four-day visit to Australia from tonight. (ANI)