Vietnam, India boost defense, trade relations

08:37 | 04/03/2019 Cooperation

(VEN) - The 47-year Vietnamese-Indian relationship has been growing well, with a bilateral strategic partnership and a comprehensive strategic partnership established in 2007 and 2016. Vietnam wants to promote deeper and more efficient cooperation with India on the basis of mutual understanding and benefit. Vietnam Economic News’ Ngoc Thao spoke with Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau about bilateral investment, trade and tourism ties.

vietnam india boost defense trade relations
Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau (middle) introduced Vietnamese goods at the 38th Indian International Trade Fair (IITF 2018) in New Delhi in November 2018

Could you share with us your feeling as Vietnamese Ambassador to India?

I’m very happy and proud to be the Vietnamese Ambassador to India and my tenure is significant, as Vietnam and India have a comprehensive strategic partnership. Such a partnership allows the two countries to regularly exchange delegations at all levels, especially high-ranking levels, leading to active, busy bilateral diplomatic activities. National defense and security cooperation is a very important part of the bilateral partnership. The two countries have cooperated in all military aspects, from training to equipment procurement and other activities. This shows very high confidence in bilateral political relations.

India supported Vietnam when Vietnam was in its most difficult periods, and vice versa. I will try my best to contribute to developing the multifaceted bilateral relationship.

Could you tell us about bilateral investment, trade and tourism cooperation?

Bilateral trade has grown 35-40 percent annually and is expected to reach US$15 billion by 2020 as targeted by the two countries’ leaders. Vietnam and India have great potential for trade development. India imports different kinds of equipment and electronics, while Vietnam imports cotton and other textile materials, fuel, and some other materials. The two countries can develop cooperation in such areas as information technology (IT), digital economy, renewable energy, health and civil aviation. Vietnam can cooperate with India in some Indian-branded programs, and India can learn from Vietnam’s experience in urban and tourism infrastructure development. The two sides should establish business-to-business and business-to-government dialogue mechanisms to create forums for sharing development strategies and visions. Enterprises of both countries need to take the initiative in promoting bilateral cooperation.

vietnam india boost defense trade relations
Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau (right) presented the Vietnamese Communist Party General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong’s credentials to Indian President Ram Nath Kovind at the Rashtrapati Bhavan presidential palace in New Delhi on November 13, 2018

Could you tell us about your goals and plans?

India has an ancient civilization and is renowned for its cultural diversity. The two countries have many similarities in culture, and both Vietnamese and Indians are generous, hospitable and friendly. These similarities have formed a favorable environment for cooperation between the two countries’ governments and people.

I will work very hard to help increase bilateral trade to US$15 billion by 2020. The Vietnamese Embassy in India will focus on organization of trade promotion forums, meet businesses from the two countries, and seek investment opportunities for businesses from both countries.

The embassy will try to help Vietnam export dragon fruit, star apple, longan, durian and rambutan to India. Vietnam will open its markets to Indian millet, pomegranate seeds and grapes, and persuade India to reduce additional taxes on pepper and trade defense measures for Vietnam’s copper pipes, steel products and Ba Sa fish.

I also want to strengthen tourism cooperation and hope for direct flights between the two countries. Vietnamese-Indian tourism exchange is expected to increase, as Vietnam holds seminars and events to attract additional Indian visitors.

Have culture and tourism promotion been integrated into diplomatic activity?

We integrate Vietnamese culture and tourism promotion into diplomatic activities whenever we can to introduce Vietnam to international communities. For example, when universities and/or high schools request us to hold a Vietnamese cultural week, we create the best conditions for them to research Vietnamese culture, set up prizes and encourage students to participate.

Recently at an annual spouse fair held by the Diplomatic Corps, we introduced Vietnamese traditional foodstuffs including pho (Vietnamese noodle soup), nem (spring rolls), shrimp-chips, fruits and coffee. On the 60th anniversary of Uncle Ho’s visit to India, we introduced a book about him.

Vietnam and India have been strengthening bilateral and regional connectivity including transport infrastructure and

digital connectivity. The “MaKe in India”, “Digital India”, “100 smart cities” initiatives and India’s achievements in a

knowledge-based economy will provide many opportunities for bilateral investment and trade cooperation.

Ngoc Thao