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India keen on strong economic ties with Vietnam: President

President Pranab Mukherjee

President Pranab MukherjeeHanoi: Describing Vietnam as one of its “most important” economic partners, India today called for firming up trade and commercial linkages with the key Southeast Asian nation after establishing strong collaboration in areas of defence and security.

“I would emphasise the importance of further strengthening our economic linkages. The potential of our complementarities is tremendous. There are new opportunities in trade and investment,” President Pranab Mukherjee said after inaugurating the India Study Centre in the Ho Chi Minh National Academy for Politics and Public Administration here.

“There are also significant prospects for building regional supply chains. We can and must encourage joint ventures between our investors — in India and Vietnam and also in third countries. These, in turn, will undoubtedly promote growth, employment and efficiencies in both our economies,” he said on the second day of his state visit.

Noting that the governments of India and Vietnam have accorded the fullest encouragement, over the years, to strengthening the linkages between the peoples, Mukherjee said, “Our investors and businessmen, professionals and researchers, technocrats and academicians as well as our Parliamentarians and our youth have successfully been working together. Our bilateral dialogue seeks to achieve higher levels of their collaboration for our mutual benefit.”

The President underlined that Vietnam is one of India’s “most important economic partners.”

Pointing out that bilateral trade has increased significantly — by 31 per cent — to USD 8 billion in the year 2013-2014, surpassing the target set by the two countries jointly, Mukherjee said during the same period, India exported USD 5.4 billion worth goods and imported USD 2.6 million from the Southeast Asian nation.

The President reiterated that India considers Vietnam “a trusted friend and an important pillar of India’s Look East Policy.”

When the two countries cooperate in the area of defence and security, they stand committed to the “promotion of peace in our region,” Mukherjee said soon after India and Vietnam signed seven pacts, including one on extension of a USD 100 million line of credit by India for defence purchases.

The President, who is on a four-day state visit to the country, delved into the historic relations of the two countries as he underlined the struggle for freedom both the nations undertook to overthrow colonial rulers.

“Strong civilizational bonds exist between India and Vietnam since the 2nd century AD. These have, today, evolved into a vibrant and multi-dimensional strategic partnership. Our current dialogue is based on the close understanding and friendship of the founding fathers of our two great nations,” Mukherjee said.


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