(CPV) - On the occasion of the 40th anniversary of establishment of diplomatic relations between India and Vietnam and the 5th anniversary of elevation of relations to the level of “Strategic Partnership”, Indian Ambassador to Vietnam had an interview with a reporter from Communist Party of Vietnam Online Newspaper on the strategic cooperation between Vietnam and India in the future.
Indian Ambassador to Vietnam had an interview with reporters. Photo: H.H
Reporter: How do you evaluate the trade and investment results between Vietnam and India in the past year?
Ambassador: I would say that our bilateral economic cooperation has been growing rapidly and, in fact, the India-Vietnam bilateral trade reached $2.7 billion USD in 2010, and jumped to $3.9 billion USD in 2011. The countries have set the target of $7 billion USD to be achieved by 2015. Since the signing of the India-Vietnam Strategic Partnership, economic interactions in several sectors through cooperation between Chambers of Commerce and Industry, Joint Business Council, and other initiatives for economic development have increased.
Last year, on the occasion of State President Truong Tan Sang’s visit to India, Petro Vietnam and ONGC Videsh Limited agreed to develop long-term cooperation in the oil and gas based sector on the principle of equality and mutual benefit. There has also been progress in sharing knowledge in the field of biotechnology, health and agriculture. However, the overall level of trade and investment between the two countries is not commensurate with the political understanding between the two countries.
Reporter: On the occasion of State President Truong Tan Sang's visit to India in October 2011, both sides set a target of $7 billion USD in bilateral trade by 2015, In your opinion, what steps do the two countries need to take to reach this target?
Ambassador: Well, I think we have to take many initiatives to achieve this bilateral trade target, especially at a time when there is global economic and financial recession. That said, both our countries are growing dynamically and I think there are a lot of opportunities
The first initiative I want to refer to is the ASEAN-India Free Trade Agreement in goods. This sector came into force in June last year and with this agreement a lot of tariffs on goods traded between India and ASEAN will be reduced over time. So this will facilitate and promote bilateral trade.
The second important initiative is the establishment of the Vietnam-India Business Forum. This is a forum that brings together companies from India and Vietnam. The forum was officially inaugurated by President Truong Tan Sang during his visit to Mumbai. Under this forum, working very closely with the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry (VCCI), our industry has participated in organizing many seminars in different provinces of Vietnam, basically to raise awareness of opportunities for bilateral trade between India and Vietnam.
These are two important initiatives that have been taken. At the same time, we also want to have more Indian business delegations visiting Vietnam and more Indian participation in business and trade fairs in Vietnam, and similarly from Vietnam, we would like more business delegations visiting India and participating in Indian trade fairs. I see that the most important job is to bring business people together. If we do this successfully, I think our trade relations will be very substantial.
Reporter: What plans do you have to promote economic cooperation between the two countries in near future?
Ambassador: Our respective economic reform programmes and the global integration of our economies have opened up myriad opportunities for mutually beneficial cooperation. We have upgraded our cooperation to a Strategic Partnership, based on a commonality of interests and shared perceptions of global and regional developments.
My job is bringing the business communities of our two countries closer together. I would like to inform Indian businessmen about the opportunities in Vietnam, whether it is in energy, infrastructure, agro-processing or marine products. Similarly I want to inform Vietnamese business people of relevant business opportunities in India. India is also a very fast growing economy and a massive market. So there is a huge demand for infrastructure development, communication equipment, IT equipment, hardware, steel, and oil. And what I would like to do is inform both sides about these opportunities, so that they can take best advantages of them.
Reporter: What about your thoughts on the human cooperation and student exchange between two countries?
Ambassador: I think the human cooperation between the two countries is a very important factor in the strategic cooperation between two countries and I want to inform you that India is cooperating closely with Vietnam in skill enhancement and human resource development efforts. I want to inform you that Vietnam-India Advanced Technology Resource Centre has been inaugurated in Hanoi, which has been constructed with the help of C-DAC at a cost of two million dollars. A new Vietnam-India Centre for English language training at the Diplomatic Academy in Vietnam has also been approved.
Reporter: What is the Vietnam’s position in the India’s Cultural policies?
Ambassador: India and Vietnam have shared civilizational, cultural and Buddhist links; India hopes to set up an Indian Cultural Centre in Hanoi soon. India has also agreed to undertake restoration of Cham cultural monuments, the ancient capital of the Champa Kingdom. India has also agreed to double the number of ITEC scholarships from the year 2012.
In this backdrop, India and Vietnam need to evaluate the current relations and explore opportunities to further strengthen the partnership.
Reporter: Thank you for your interview./.