Tue, Oct 25, 2016 | updated 06:53 AM IST

Visit to Vietnam 'reinforcement of friendship, solidarity': PM Modi

Updated: Sep 03, 2016 07:18 IST

Hanoi [Vietnam], Sept 3 (ANI): Asserting that India and Vietnam share "traditionally close relations", Prime Minister Narendra Modi has said that his visit to Hanoi is a "reinforcement of friendship, solidarity and comprehensive cooperation" between the two leaderships.

In an interview to Vietnam news agency, Prime Minister Modi said his visit is intended to further boost bilateral and multilateral engagement and cooperation in the fields of politics, economy, commerce, culture, human resource development, science and technology, space research, defence and security amid New Delhi and Hanoi.

"India not only stood by Vietnam during its freedom struggle but also during its phase of national reunification. The late 1970s and 80s were a difficult period for Vietnam, and India was one of the few countries that stood by Vietnam in its time of need. My visit to Vietnam is a reinforcement of our friendship, solidarity and comprehensive cooperation," said Prime Minister Modi.

"The visit is intended to further boost our bilateral and multilateral engagement and cooperation in the fields of politics, economy, commerce, culture, human resource development, science and technology, space research, defence and security. The thrust of our multifaceted relationship is to work towards stability, maintenance of peace, economic growth and prosperity in our countries, Asia and beyond," he added.

When asked that the two countries have been traditional friends for long time, and also strategic partners in foreign policy and what are the issues that New Delhi would discuss during his visit, the Prime Minister said, "We would be covering a wide variety of topics across the entire range of our bilateral and multilateral interactions. Trade is certainly one important aspect. Our trade currently stands at USD 7.83 billion, and we are committed to meet the target of US 15 billion dollars by 2020."

"We would be deliberating on the thrust areas and new sectors for enhancing trade and the impetus required for enhanced investments. We are also keen on increasing our investments in Vietnam. Indian investments in Vietnam are currently at about 1.1 billion dollars, and would be significantly enhanced upon implementation of large infrastructure projects such as Tata Power's Long Phu - II 1,320 MW thermal power project with an estimated cost of 2.2 billion dollars," he added.

The Prime Minsiter further said that New Delhi would also invite Vietnam to look at India as an attractive investment destination.

"We would especially like to invite Vietnamese entrepreneurs to invest in North East India which is a focus area for our Act East Policy. We are determined to encourage connectivity between North East India and ASEAN and I have announced a 1 billion dollars Line of Credit for India-ASEAN physical and digital connectivity," said Prime Minister Modi.

"Prime Minister Phuc and I would also be discussing regional cooperation and stability and our multilateral cooperation," he added.

Speaking on the 45th anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and India and 10 years of strategic partnership relations between Vietnam and India, Prime Minister Modi said, "The year 2017 marks a very important milestone in the bilateral relations between the two countries and we would be organising various events throughout the year to commemorate the events. The 'Strategic Partnership' established in 2007 has been instrumental in cementing our security and defence relations and is today comprehensive in its reach, depth and engagement."

"However, our relationship is not limited to the 45 years of our modern existence but spans two millennia of contacts between our civilisations. The advent of Buddhism from India to Vietnam and the remnants of the Hindu Cham civilization stand testimony to this. Both India and Vietnam have a young and dynamic demography with majority of the population below the age of 35 years. It is therefore important to secure our future, and the focus of our relations is rightly set towards fulfilling the aspirations of our youth.

"The two countries share many similarities in history, traditional culture and religion though their friendship and mutual understanding have been tested through the ups and downs of history. I would like to reiterate late Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Van Dong's words that the India - Vietnam relationship is "as pure as a cloudless sky". We have a duty to our countries and peoples to add to this rich inheritance," he added. (ANI)