Vietnamese president in India to expand strategic tiesOctober 11th, 2011 - 8:51 pm ICT by IANS
New Delhi, Oct 11 (IANS) In a major strategic signal, Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang Tuesday began a four-day visit to India that aims to provide a greater push to growing strategic bilateral ties, amid their straining ties with China over territorial disputes.
Truong, who arrived in Bangalore on the first leg of his visit, is scheduled to arrive in the capital Wednesday when he will get to meet India’s top leadership, including President Pratibha Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna, according to ministry of external affairs spokesperson Vishnu Prakash and Joint Secretary (South) Arun Kumar Goel.
The two sides are expected to sign a series of bilateral agreements in the fields of energy and hydrocarbons, education, science and technology, culture and homeland security, apart from agreeing to celebrate the 40 years of their bilateral relationship in 2012 as the ‘Year of Friendship’.
Truong is also likely to meet Leader of the Opposition in the Lok Sabha Sushma Swaraj, as is the norm during bilateral visits.
The visit is expected to give an impetus to India’s Look East policy, with Vietnam being the largest growing economy and a major power in the 10-nation ASEAN.
“Our ties are based on mutual trust and near identical views on global issues,” Prakash told reporters, while giving details of the Vietnamese President’s visit.
Truong is scheduled to visit Mumbai on Thursday, where he will address a meeting of Indian trade representatives.
“The two sides are likely to sign a series of agreements, including one on extradition and another to celebrate 2012 as Year of Friendship to mark 40 years of our bilateral relations,” Arun Kumar Goel said.
The two sides will also hold a general discussion on security and defence cooperation, but there will be “no discussion” on missile cooperation, he said when asked if sale of India-Russian joint venture BrahMos cruise missile to Vietnam was on the agenda of talks.
He said the nuclear energy sector in Vietnam was at a nascent stage and they were considering on the technology that they may want to tap nuclear energy for peaceful, development purposes.
“If they think so, they will come back to us,” he said, implying that India may help Vietnam with advice on nuclear power.
With regard to space research, Goel said Vietnam was aware of India’s prowess in space technologies, including developing and placing satellites in orbit and they were cooperating with India in using satellites for flood forecasting and for agriculture.
Significantly, the Vietnamese president comes here weeks after External Affairs Minister S.M. Krishna’s visit to Hanoi last month that saw India’s state-owned ONGC Videsh sealing pacts for oil exploration in offshore blocks off the South China Sea.
Beijing, which claims full sovereignty over the entire South China Sea, has objected to the oil deals in the disputed territory. India has defended the move, saying its cooperation with Vietnam in accordance with international laws and underlined the need for freedom of navigation in South China Sea.
Ahead of his visit, President Truong defended Hanoi’s deal with New Delhi, saying foreign companies were welcome to work in oil and gas projects in the continental shelf and exclusive economic zone of Vietnam. Underlining the growing strategic partnership with India, he stressed that these investments were in conformity with Vietnamese laws.
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Tags: arun kumar, bilateral agreements, bilateral relations, bilateral relationship, bilateral ties, bilateral visits, cruise missile, defence cooperation, external affairs minister, general discussion, leader of the opposition, Lok Sabha, manmohan singh, ministry of external affairs, president pratibha patil, prime minister manmohan, prime minister manmohan singh, sushma swaraj, territorial disputes, trade representatives