A new chapter in Vietnam-India relations

Update: 10:19 | 05/03/2018
At the invitation of H.E. Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, President of the Republic of India, His Excellency Mr. Tran Dai Quang, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam and spouse will be undertaking a State Visit to India from 2-4 March 2018. On this occasion, Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Parvathaneni Harish has granted an interview with The World and Vietnam Report. 
a new chapter in vietnam india relations President Tran Dai Quang holds talks with Indian PM Narendra Modi
a new chapter in vietnam india relations Gun salute welcomes President Tran Dai Quang in New Delhi

Can you evaluate the relationship between Vietnam and India, especially after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s recent visit?

The visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi was a landmark, since it was the first for an Indian prime minister after a gap of almost 15 years. That milestone visit has led to the relationship between the two countries being upgraded to a comprehensive strategic partnership.

During the visit, India and Vietnam signed a number of agreements in various fields, which has given us a new framework of engagement across different sectors. It has strengthened our relations in defense-security cooperation and enhanced the economic ties between the two countries. Industries and businesses from both sides are looking to meet and surpass the trade target set by the two leaders of 15 billion USD by 2020.

a new chapter in vietnam india relations
Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Parvathaneni Harish answering the media at the press conference on 26 February. (Photo: Quang Dao)

The visit also focused on cooperation in science technology, innovation, the peaceful use of atomic energy, space travel and a number of other areas. Therefore, I think the meeting between our leaders has given a huge boost to the relationship.

Another area in which India is looking to increase collaboration is culture. Prime Minister Modi’s address at Quan Su pagoda, where he met thousands of Vietnamese monks, enhanced engagement in the cultural arena. With this robust cooperation, I hope Vietnam and India will continue to promote their relationship in the future.

Can you share with us what kind of activities India is going to undertake to achieve the trade target of 15 billion USD by 2020, as well as to realise the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership? What specific sectors will India and Vietnam focus on?

During Deputy Prime Minister, Minister of Foreign Affairs, Pham Binh Minh’s visit to India in July 2017, both sides signed a plan of cooperation for putting the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership into operation. This plan of action details which activities both sides need to undertake to realise this partnership.

Regarding the bilateral trade target, we have increased the number of exhibitions on both sides and improved participation at business forums organised by both countries. There are still many opportunities for the two countries to increase trade cooperation. We are exploring further sectors such as agriculture, oil and gas, renewable energy and energy conservation. We hope that improvements in these areas will help in achieving the set target.

Regarding the attraction of FDI, after the visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, where he met representatives of many Indian businesses, how can Vietnam attract more FDI?  

Vietnam already successfully attracts FDI from countries around the world. I think Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit was very important in terms of opening more investment opportunities for India. During his visit, he met with top leaders of Indian industries and helped them to better realise the investment prospects in Vietnam.

Therefore, the fact that President Quang is leading a high-level business delegation and will meet with Indian businesses is giving India the chance to understand the Vietnamese market and better grasp the investment opportunities.

This visit is also coordinating with chambers of commerce in both countries, and they play a very important role in connecting businesses. I am very happy to see this happening and it is definitely a big step forward.

In your opinion, which Vietnamese sectors might attract the interest of Indian businesses?

Many of our companies are operating in agriculture, with interests in industries like sugar, coffee and tea. For example, Tata Coffee is investing 63 million USD in Binh Duong to produce coffee.

Additionally, many of our businesses are looking to the energy sector, especially in renewable energy, solar and wind power after Vietnam adopted new tariffs for solar and wind projects. We believe that India and Vietnam can expand cooperation in the energy industry and we are trying to bring our companies and Vietnamese companies closer together to achieve this. 

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