Vietnam is ramping up ties with India in areas ranging from defence to tourism under the three year-old comprehensive strategic partnership, with two top Vietnamese generals visiting the country this month to discuss security issues.
“Senior lieutenant general Bui Van Nam, Vietnam’s deputy minister of public security, is currently in India for meetings with Indian interlocutors to boost security cooperation. Gen Phan Van Giang, the chief of general staff of the army, will visit New Delhi during November 24, 2019 to November 27, 2019 to strengthen defence cooperation,” Vietnamese envoy Pham Sanh Chau said on Monday.
“Joint production of military hardware and Vietnam’s participating in defence expo 2020, which will be hosted by Uttar Pradesh, will figure on the agenda during Giang’s visit. The two sides are also exploring ways to operationalise a $500 million line of credit for defence cooperation that was offered by India in 2016,” Chau said.
The 18thsecurity dialogue, one of about 20 bilateral mechanisms, was held in Vietnam last month and also discussed cooperation in defence production and regional security issues, he added.
Describing repeated intrusions by Chinese vessels in Vietnam’s exclusive economic zone as one of the most serious crises, Chau shared that his country had welcomed Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent remarks on maintaining peace and security in the region and on respect for international law, including freedom of navigation and over flights.
To mark the third anniversary of the comprehensive strategic partnership, Vietnam is organising a slew of events this month to showcase its business potential and to boost engagement in areas such as tourism, education and culture.
“Low cost carrier VietJet, Vietnam’s first privately owned airline, is set to launch Delhi-Ho Chi Minh City flights four times a week from December 6 and Delhi-Hanoi flights three times a week from December 7 to meet the needs of the growing number of tourists from both sides,” Chau said.
About 35,000 Vietnamese tourists visit India every year, mainly travelling to several Buddhist sites across the country, while 110,000 Indians travel to Vietnam and the expectations were triple these figures to triple following the launch of direct flights by IndiGo and VietJet.
“The two countries are also on course to achieve the target of enhancing bilateral trade to $15 billion by 2020, having recorded trade of almost $14 billion this year. An Indian tech company is planning investments that will create about 10,000 jobs for young engineers,” Chau said.