'Vietnam has emerged as a regional power in South-East Asia': Hamid Ansari

Hanoi, Jan. 15 (ANI): Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari on Tuesday said Vietnam has emerged as a regional power in South-East Asia with political stability and a dynamic economy.

"Our bilateral economic and trade ties have grown significantly in recent years, though much more remains to be done," said Ansari in his address at the closing ceremony of India-Vietnam Friendship Year in Hanoi.

"We have set a target of 7 billion USD for bilateral trade by 2015. We are confident of achieving it. We need to generate greater awareness about mutually beneficial business opportunities, thereby facilitating trade and investment. Indian companies have ventured into Vietnam in increasing numbers with investments in diverse sectors and in several provinces. Indian companies in the field of oil and gas exploration are already actively engaged in several projects in Vietnam. India is also prepared to continuing extending lines of credit on concessional terms, especially for infrastructure development," he added.

Asserting that India has been a long-standing partner in Vietnam's development process, Ansari said: "Our cooperation in diverse areas such as agriculture, science and technology, education, capacity building and human resource development is growing. We enjoy robust cooperation in the areas of defence and security. We are strengthening our cooperation in the field of Human Resource Development and Capacity Building."

"Our cultural ties rooted in antiquity are growing stronger. The opening of the Indian Cultural Centre in Hanoi this year will bring to the people of Vietnam a flavour of India. It would greatly facilitate our cultural ties and promote people-to-people contacts," he added.

Ansari said 'during our 'Year of Friendship' we have both organized several commemorative events, cultural performances, seminars and business promotion events'.

"The decision to set up the Institute of Indian and South West Asian Studies, under the aegis of Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences is a testimony to the desire on both sides to engage more closely," said Ansari.

"The year 2012 also marked the 20th anniversary of India's relationship with ASEAN. To commemorate this occasion, a special India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit was held in India in December. Several events including the India-ASEAN car rally, a Goodwill visit by a sail training ship, business conclaves and cultural activities were organized to commemorate this event," he added.

Stating that India values its relations with Vietnam, Ansari said: "Our shared values and aspirations form the basis of our relations. It is said our relations are as blue as the clear sky without any clouds. Today, we can look forward towards the future with confidence."

"Over the years, the commitment shown by the leadership in the two countries resulted in the signing of the Joint Declaration Cooperation Framework in 2003, which culminated in the establishment of a "Strategic Partnership" in 2007," he added.

Ansari said the partnership between India and Vietnam is based on a common vision, shared interests and mutual trust and friendship.

"It is for mutual benefit and for regional peace, stability and prosperity. We share a strategic understanding and cooperation at regional and multilateral forums," he added.

Vice President Ansari also thank the Vietnam Union of Friendship Organizations for having taken this initiative in organizing this delightful function.

"While we are celebrating forty years of official diplomatic relations, the ties between our peoples are much older; indeed, they go back into antiquity when traders and sea-farers, sages and savants crossed the oceans and the seas exchanging goods and services, ideas and knowledge, culture and spiritual traditions," said Ansari.

"The splendid monuments of the Champa civilization at My Son are living symbols of the cultural interface between our civilizations," he added. (ANI)

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