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NEWS UPDATES Asean Affairs   26 November 2013  

Vietnam welcomes investors from India

Vietnam welcomed investors from India, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Viet Nam (CPV) Nguyen Phu Trong said at an Indian Business Forum in Mumbai as part of his State visit to India.

Trong said trade and investment between Viet Nam and India was growing strongly.

India is one of Viet Nam's 10th largest trading partners. Two-way trade has grown at an annual rate of more than 12 per cent in recent years, reaching US$3.94 billion in 2012.

The two sides target $7 billion in bilateral trade by 2015 and $15 billion by 2020.

By June 2013, Indian businessmen had established 74 projects in Viet Nam with a total registered investment of more than $252 million.

Trong told representatives from Indian companies that he and Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh had witnessed the signing of a series of important co-operation documents between the two countries.

However, he noted that bilateral trade remained modest, expressing the wish that the two sides exert more efforts to foster co-operation.

The Party leader said that relations between Viet Nam and India had become closer since a strategic partnership was established in 2007.

He said that potential for co-operation between the two countries was huge.

He said the two countries always worked closely at regional and international forums, adding that Viet Nam was willing to help Indian enterprises penetrate the ASEAN market.

Viet Nam is considered an attractive destination for Indian investors. Indian enterprises hope to strengthen co-operation in oil, gas, steel, thermal power, IT, sugar production, food processing, infrastructure development, pharmacy and human resources development.

Indian representatives suggested Viet Nam consider longer visas for foreign workers and open direct air routes between the two countries.

Deputy Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and ministers in the Vietnamese delegation briefed participants of Viet Nam's development policies and addressed concerns by Indian businesses.

Earlier, the head of the Party Central Committee's External Relations Commission, Hoang Binh Quan, met K.L Malhotra, chairman of the India-Viet Nam Friendship Association, and G. Sharma, president of the India-Viet Nam Solidarity Committee in West Bengal.

Quan said he was happy that ties had grown in politics, economics, defence and security.

Malhotra and Sharma emphasised the significance of Trong's visit to India and pledged to continue strengthening the friendship between the two peoples.

Also yesterday, the Vietnamese Party leader met with Governor of the Indian state of Maharashtra, Kateekal Sankaranarayanan.

Joint statement

On the occasion of Party General Secretary Trong's visit to India at the invitation of Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, the two sides issued a joint statement.

During Trong's talks with the Indian Prime Minister in New Delhi on Wednesday, the leaders noted that India and Viet Nam had common objectives of inclusive growth and socio-economic development and affirmed that they shared a common vision to meet the aspirations of the peoples of both countries, the statement said.

They also noted that both countries faced similar challenges posed by global economic recession, the menace of terrorism and other issues confronting the international system. The Prime Minister reaffirmed that Viet Nam was a pillar of India's Look East Policy, which was supported by the General Secretary. They envisaged a more active role for India in the regional and international arena.

The leaders recalled the great contributions of Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President Ho Chi Minh to the development of India - Viet Nam friendship, which was further nurtured by subsequent generations of leaders and peoples of both countries.

They expressed satisfaction that regular consultations at all levels had helped consolidate and expand bilateral ties.

The leaders expressed satisfaction at the success of the "India - Viet Nam Friendship Year" held in 2012 that celebrated the 40th anniversary of establishment of full diplomatic relations and the 5th anniversary of the Strategic Partnership between the two countries. The numerous events organised by both countries raised awareness among the people of both countries about the civilisational linkages between India and Viet Nam and the scope for future collaboration in the contemporary world.

The leaders emphasised that India - Viet Nam relationship was a time tested friendship, characterised by shared interests, mutual trust and multi-dimensional co-operation. In view of the convergence on strategic interests, they agreed to further strengthen and deepen the Strategic Partnership between the two countries. This would contribute to peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia Pacific region and beyond.

Strategic engagement

Visits in recent years by the two countries top leaders reflected the importance attached to the strengthening of bilateral ties by both sides.

The leaders decided to reinforce high level political interactions by enhancing the frequency of bilateral visits and meetings on the sidelines of regional and multilateral events.

The leaders welcomed the agreements and the substantive Action Plan adopted at the 15th Joint Commission Meeting in New Delhi in July this year and commended the important contributions made by other existing bilateral mechanisms for consolidating and expanding the relationship.

The leaders welcomed the decision to establish exchange of visits under the Distinguished Visitors Programme between the Ministry of External Affairs of India and the Commission for External Relations of the Communist Party of Viet Nam to strengthen mutual understanding in the fields of governance, public policy, challenges of development and inclusive growth.

They agreed that defence cooperation was a significant pillar of the strategic partnership between the two countries. They welcomed the regular defence dialogue, training, exercises, Navy and Coast Guard ship visits, capacity building, exchange of think tanks and other exchanges between relevant agencies of the two countries in recent years.

The utilisation of the Line of Credit in the field of defence would further strengthen defence co-operation. The leaders recommended that both sides continue to work closely on suitable terms and conditions for the Line of Credit of US$100 million in the field of defence to augment the momentum already created. Both sides welcomed the signing and implementation of the Arrangement on Protection of Classified Information between the two countries and the understanding on training of naval and air force personnel of Viet Nam, currently under implementation.

The leaders reiterated their desire and determination to work together to maintain peace, stability, growth and prosperity in Asia . They agreed that freedom of navigation in the East Sea/South China Sea should not be impeded and called the parties concerned to exercise restraint, avoid threat or use of force and resolve disputes through peaceful means in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the UNCLOS. They also welcomed the collective commitment of the concerned parties to abide by and implement the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and to work towards the adoption of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea on the basis of consensus. They called for co-operation in ensuring security of sea-lanes, maritime security, combating piracy and conducting search and rescue operations.

They noted that co-operation had strengthened on security and law enforcement issues. They welcomed the signing of the Treaty on Transfer of Sentenced Prisoners. They also welcomed the entry into force of the Extradition Treaty signed between the two countries. They instructed relevant departments on both sides to focus on sharing of information and experience in combating organised crime, illicit arms and drug trafficking.

They welcomed the signing of the MoU on establishment of the India-Gandhi High-tech Crime Laboratory in Ha Noi and called for early realisation of the project. The Indian side agreed to continue assisting Viet Nam in its efforts at training and capacity building and modernisation efforts of the Vietnamese Police.

The leaders strongly condemned terrorism in all its forms and agreed to increase co-operation in the fight against this global scourge.

Both sides also agreed to further strengthen co-operation for an early conclusion of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism, for which India had presented a draft at the United Nations.

The leaders agreed to strengthen co-operation and co-ordination to effectively address the challenges posed by non-traditional security threats such as climate change, environmental degradation, energy security, food and water security, HIV/AIDS and avian influenza.

The leaders decided to broaden bilateral co-operation in areas such as space technology, natural resource management and use, disaster management and mitigation, weather forecasting, oceanography, hydrology, meteorology, nanotechnology and civil nuclear co-operation. They instructed relevant authorities on both sides to work towards early completion of the project to establish a satellite tracking, data reception and processing centre in HCM City under India-ASEAN Co-operation and agreed that both sides will explore new areas such as launching of Vietnamese satellites using Indian launch vehicles and assistance in setting up of earth observation centre in Viet Nam.

Economic partnership

The leaders agreed that enhancing the economic partnership was one of the main components of the strategic partnership between the two countries. They welcomed the outcome of the first meeting of the India-Viet Nam Sub-Commission on Trade held in New Delhi earlier this month. They noted with satisfaction the steady growth in bilateral trade, which is on way to meet the target of US$7 billion by 2015. They noted that favourable conditions should be created for further boosting bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2020 and for promoting mutual investments especially in the areas of education, infrastructure, hydrocarbons, power generation, new and renewable energy, agriculture, textiles, information technology, and pharmaceuticals.

They also agreed to work for the early signing and implementation of the India-ASEAN FTA in Services and Investments to build on the momentum created by India-ASEAN FTA in Goods. They also agreed work together for early realisation of RCEP so as to facilitate India's integration into the ASEAN Economic Community.

The Vietnamese side welcomed new investments by Indian companies in oil and gas upstream and downstream projects in Viet Nam . The leaders noted with satisfaction that Viet Nam's Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) has offered new areas to India for oil and gas exploration.

Both sides welcomed and committed to facilitate the opening of branch offices by their commercial banks in each others' countries, in accordance with the laws of the host country, universally recognised principles of international trade as well as bilateral commitments. They expressed satisfaction with the co-operation between the Ministries of Finance and Customs Departments of the two countries.

The leaders encouraged co-operation between the private sectors of both countries and reaffirmed their support to the Viet Nam-India Business Forum and the activities of the chambers of commerce and industry of both countries. The Vietnamese side also agreed to actively support the "ASEAN - India Business Council".

The leaders welcomed and supported Tata Power to participate as the developer of the 1320 MW Long Phu 2 power project. This would be the largest Indian investment in Viet Nam and would act as a forerunner towards greater investment flows from India.

They decided to strengthen physical connectivity through land, sea and air transport between India and Viet Nam. They welcomed the signing of the Air Services Agreement that would promote co-operation in the civil aviation sector.

They welcomed the signing of the bilateral Maritime Shipping Agreement and proposed to initiate discussions, at the official level, on a sub-regional shipping agreement between India and Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Viet Nam.

They highlighted the importance of extension of the road connectivity between India and Viet Nam and welcomed India's suggestion to discuss soft infrastructure requirements to facilitate seamless movement of goods and services across economic corridors and initiation of discussions on an ASEAN-India Transit Transport Agreement (AITTA), to be concluded by the end of 2015.

The leaders highlighted the important contribution of capacity building and development partnership projects such as the establishment of a Viet Nam-India English Language, IT Training Centre at the National Defence Academy in Ha Noi, the Vocational Training Centre in HCM City and the operationalisation of the High Performance Computing Facility at Ha Noi University of Science and Technology. They also agreed to expedite new projects involving Lines of Credit from India. The Vietnamese side welcomed the establishment of the India-CLMV Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) Fund under which short gestation projects would be undertaken with grant assistance from India, to directly benefit local communities in a visible and immediate manner in areas such as education, health, sanitation and community development.

The leaders noted the strong co-operation in agriculture and related fields and agreed to further deepening of co-operation in research and development in agriculture, fisheries, aquaculture, animal husbandry and dairy. They called for an early convening of the India-Viet Nam conference on Agriculture between the Indian Council for Agricultural Research (ICAR) and the Viet Nam Academy of Agriculture Sciences (VAAS) and highlighted the immense scope for further collaborations.

They welcomed the establishment of a Pangasius breeding farm in India in co-operation with Viet Nam. They agreed to promote information exchange and research in Early Mortality Syndrome in the shrimp industry.

The leaders noted with satisfaction the signing of the Programme of Co-operation in Science and Technology for 2013-14. Both sides also welcomed the programme of co-operation between the Ministry of Science and Technology of Vietnam and the Department of Biotechnology of India.

Cultural plans

The leaders agreed to deepen friendly exchanges, people to people contacts and co-operation in the fields of culture, archaeology, conservation, museology, tourism, public health, sports, education and media. They welcomed early establishment of sister-city relations between Mumbai and HCM City. The Viet Nam side welcomed the decision to open an Indian Culture Centre in Ha Noi to promote exchange of artists and troupes, holding of film festivals, exchanges between the youth and other cultural activities.

The leaders called for early signing of the MoU on Conservation and Restoration of Cham monuments by the Archaeological Survey of India at My Son heritage site in Viet Nam.

The leaders noted with satisfaction outcome of the 2nd meeting of the Joint Working Group on Educational Exchange for co-operation between universities and academia, in particular the proposal for introduction of the Indian Central Board of Secondary Education (CBSE) curriculum in Vietnamese schools.

Regional links

The leaders noted the growing role of both countries in regional affairs and agreed to further strengthen co-operation at regional and international fora, especially in the ASEAN, the East Asia Summit (EAS), the ASEAN Regional Forum (ARF), the ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus (ADMM+), the Expanded ASEAN Maritime Forum (EAMF), the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM), the Mekong-Ganga Co-operation (MGC), the World Trade Organisation (WTO), the United Nations and the Non-aligned Movement. The leaders highlighted that their co-operation was in keeping with the common desire and determination of both sides to work together for peace, prosperity and stability in the region and the world.

India expressed its appreciation for Viet Nam ‘s continued support for India's permanent membership in an expanded UN Security Council. The Indian side reaffirmed its support for Viet Nam's candidature for the United Nations Security Council non-permanent membership for the term 2020-21 and the Vietnamese side expressed reciprocal support for India's candidature for the United Nations Security Council non-permanent membership for a subsequent term.

Viet Nam also expressed support for India's membership of the Human Rights Council for the term 2015-17. The Vietnamese side expressed its appreciation for India's support to its application for membership of the International Hydrographic Organisation. The Indian side expressed appreciation for Viet Nam's support for its re-election to category-II seat in the International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) Council.

The leaders welcomed the signing of a number of bilateral agreements and MoUs during the visit and called on relevant departments to initiate steps for early implementation of these agreements fully, the statement said.

The documents signed during the visit included: Air Service Agreement, MOU for setting up of the Indira Gandhi Hightech Crime Lab in Ha Noi, Agreement on Protection of Classified Information, MoU between two Ministries of Finance, Co-operation Agreement between Ha Noi National University and Indian Council for Scientific and Industrial Research, MoU on Co-operation between India Institute of Management (IIM) Bangalore and HCM National Academy of Public Administration, MoU between Viet Nam Oil and Gas Group and ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL), and MOU between Viet Nam Ministry of Industry and Trade and Tata Power Ltd. on development of Long Phu 2 Thermal Power Project in Soc Trang, Viet Nam.

General Secretary Trong later extended an invitation to Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh to visit Viet Nam. The Prime Minister accepted the invitation with pleasure. The dates of the visit would be finalised through diplomatic channels, the statement said. — VNS

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