Press Statement by Prime Minister during his visit to Vietnam (September 03, 2016)
Your Excellency Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc,
Members of the media,
Thank you, Excellency, for your warm words of welcome and generous hospitality extended to me and my delegation. Earlier this morning, you made the special gesture of personally showing me Ho Chi Minh’s house. Ho Chi Minh was one of the tallest leaders of the twentieth century. Thank you, Excellency, for extending me the privilege. Let me also congratulate the people of Vietnam on their national day that you celebrated yesterday.
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.
My conversation with Prime Minister Phuc has been extensive and productive. Our 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.
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.
Vietnam is undergoing rapid development and strong economic growth.
As Vietnam seeks to:
- Empower and enrich its people;
- Modernize its agriculture;
- Encourage entrepreneurship and innovation;
- Strengthen its Science and Technology base;
- Create new institutional capacities for faster economic development; and
- Take steps to build a modern nation.
India and its 1.25 billion people stand ready to be Vietnam’s partner and a friend in this journey. Prime Minister and I agreed to take several decisions today to move on the pledge of our partnership. India will be offering a grant of US$5 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. 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.
The cultural connect between our people is centuries old. We hope for an early establishment and opening of the Indian Cultural Centre in Hanoi. The Archaeological Survey of India can soon start the conservation and restoration work of theCham monuments at My Son. I am thankful for Vietnam’s leadership in facilitating inscription of Nalanda Mahavihara as a UNESCO World Heritage site earlier this year.
ASEAN is important to India in terms of historical links, geographical proximity cultural ties and the strategic space that we 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.
You have been a generous and a gracious host. The affection shown by Vietnamese people has touched my heart. We can take satisfaction from the nature and direction of our partnership. At the same time, we must stay focused to keep up the momentum in our ties. I have enjoyed your hospitality. It would be my pleasure to host you and the leadership of Vietnam in India. We look forward to welcoming you in India.
Thank you very much.