Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang identified maritime security as one of the major areas in which both nations can cooperate on a strategic level.

In their joint press statement on Saturday, 3 March, both PM Modi and President Quang recognised the need for increased cooperation in areas of defence.

Both nations expressed their commitment to ensure that respect for sovereignty and international law continues to be upheld. The commitment was an indirect reference to China’s aggressive posture in the South China Sea region, which has been criticised by Southeast Asian nations as well as world powers.

“We will work towards an open, independent and prosperous Indo-Pacific region where there is respect for sovereignty and international law, and where disputes are solved with dialogue,” said PM Modi, a view shared by President Quang.

“We are considering cooperation in areas closely to address regional security challenges including maritime security and cyber security,” President Quang said.

The PM said that Vietnam has an important place in India’s framework of Act East policy and India’s relations with ASEAN.

India and Vietnam agreed to strengthen relations in different sectors such as renewable energy, agriculture, textiles and oil-gas.

“In oil and gas sector, not only we will strengthen our long standing bilateral relations but also work along with other nations on trilateral possibilities,” the PM said.

The Vietnamese President said that the two nations are striving to bring bilateral trade to $50 billion by 2020. He underlined his country’s commitment to creating favourable conditions for businesses in areas ranging from Information technology to Infrastructure.

The PM recalled that his 2016 trip to Vietnam elevated the bilateral status between India and Vietnam to that of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

“In 2017, we celebrated the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties,” the PM said.

The PM underlined that the relations between India and Vietnam are over 2000 years old which is being reinforced by increasing people-to-people ties.

PM Modi said that India and Vietnam will explore the possibility of coproduction and transfer of technology in defence manufacturing – an area he identified as one of the strong points in the ties.

Calling President Quang’s trip a signal of both strengthening of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two nations, the PM thanked Vietnam for helping in Ahmedabad’s selection as a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

President Quang reaffirmed the “high commitment and political will to further deepening bilateral ties” between India and Vietnam.

He said that he has extended invites to Indian President Ram Nath Kovind, PM Modi, Ministers and CMs of State to visit Vietnam.

Three MoUs were signed by Vietnam and India in the areas of economic and trade cooperation, agricultural research and technical cooperation in the field of atomic energy for peaceful purposes.