India, Vietnam sign seven agreements during virtual summit

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi have also issued a Joint Vision Statement on Peace, Prosperity and People at their virtual summit on Monday.
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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc (right) holds virtual summit with Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi on December 21, 2020. (Photo: VGP)

Participating in a virtual summit with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Vietnam as “an important pillar of India’s Act East policy and an important ally of our Indo-Pacific vision”.

“We see our relationship with Vietnam from a long-term and strategic view. Peace, stability, and prosperity are our common objectives in the Indo-Pacific region. Our partnership can contribute significantly to maintain stability and peace in the region,” Modi said.

According to Hindustan Times, The two leaders released a joint vision document and a plan of action for bilateral engagements during 2021-23. “This joint vision for peace, prosperity, and people will send a strong message to the world about the depth of our relationship,” Modi said. The Statement shall guide the bilateral ties in the coming years, according to the Vietnamese Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

On the occasion, the two leaders witnessed the signing ceremony of seven cooperative documents and the announcement of three programs in defense, civil nuclear cooperation, oil and gas, clean energy, healthcare, development cooperation, preservation of heritage, and cultural exchanges.

Modi said the seven agreements signed by the two countries cover diverse issues such as defense, nuclear power, petrochemicals, renewable energy, and treatment of cancer. “We are also taking new initiatives in the area of ​​our development cooperation and cultural conservation. All this shows the expansion and potential of our growing mutual cooperation,” he added.

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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a visit to Vietnam. (Photo: VGP)

During the summit, the leaders underlined that defense and security cooperation is a key pillar of the bilateral ties and agreed to continue fostering and promoting the role of the existing consultation and dialogue mechanisms while expanding cooperation in the defense industry, training, and UN-led peacekeeping operations.

Both sides agreed to strive to soon realize the trade goal of US$15 billion through facilitating trade promotion activities, reducing technical barriers, strengthening production chain connectivity, and maintaining the stability of regional and international supply chains. The two PMs also agreed to broaden cooperation in energy, science and technology, artificial intelligence, 5G technology, and startup among others.

PM Phuc took the occasion to express thanks to the Indian Government for offering non-refundable aid and preferential credit loans, contributing to socio-economic development and cultural preservation in Viet Nam, VGP reported.

The two leaders pledged to further strengthen mutual support and coordination at regional and international forums, especially the United Nations when the two countries are UNSC non-permanent members next year, and the ASEAN-led mechanisms.

They underscored the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety, and freedom of navigation and overflight as well as the peaceful resolution of disputes on the basis of international law, particularly the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS 1982).

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Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi in a visit to Vietnam. (Photo: VGP)

The pair emphasized that the UNCLOS 1982 sets out a legal framework for all activities in the oceans and seas, calling on parties to fully and effectively implement the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea and soon conclude substantial and effective Code of Conduct in the East Sea in line with international law, especially the 1982 UNCLOS.

India is currently implementing a $100-million defense line of credit for 12 high-speed patrol boats for Vietnam. The boats being built for the Vietnam Border Guard are meant to enhance coastal security and prevent illegal activities. Five vessels are being built at Larsen & Toubro’s shipyard in Chennai, and the rest will be made at Hong Ha shipyard in the Vietnamese port city of Hai Phong under the Indian firm’s supervision.

Both countries also have stakes in the Indo-Pacific region and significant maritime interests, and the summit enabled them to look at potential cooperation on India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative and Asean’s Indo-Pacific outlook. India and Vietnam will also concurrently serve as non-permanent members of the UN Security Council from 2021, and this has opened up new opportunities for cooperation and coordination on regional and international issues.

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