Hanoi: Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Saturday flew into the Vietnamese capital on his maiden visit to hold wide-ranging talks with the country’s top leadership on ways to bolster strategic bilateral ties in key areas like defence, security, counterterrorism and trade.
“Reached Hanoi. This is a special visit & will go a long way in deepening the strong bond between India & Vietnam,” Modi tweeted.
The visit, that marks the first by an Indian premier to the country in 15 years, takes place on his way to Hangzhou, China to attend the G20 Summit beginning Sunday. Modi will hold extensive talks with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and call on President Tran Dai Quang tomorrow. He is also scheduled to meet Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.
Defence, security, science and technology, trade and culture are some of the issues on the plate for the talks. The premier will also pay homage to revered leader Ho Chi Minh, whom he described in his Facebook post as one of 20th century’s tallest leaders. He will lay a wreath at the Monument of National Heroes and Martyrs as well as visit the Quan Su Pagoda. Ho Chi Minh, who is often called “the Vietnamese George Washington” by Communist Vietnamese, has a city named after him. After his death, Ho’s followers embalmed his body and put it in a tomb, the mausoleum, where he is still worshipped today.
“Vietnamese Prime Minister Phuc and I would also be discussing regional cooperation and stability and our multilateral cooperation,” Modi told Voice of Vietnam Radio network earlier.
The thrust of our multifaceted relationship is to work towards stability, maintenance of peace, economic growth and prosperity in our countries, Asia and beyond, he added. Modi emphasised that India’s Act East Policy aimed to forge partnerships with its eastern neighbours to encompass security, strategic, political, counter-terrorism, and defence collaboration in addition to economic ties.
“It was crystallised to underscore the importance of East Asian neighbours of India and to make them a priority in our foreign policy engagement,” he told the radio, adding that Vietnam was an integral member of ASEAN and is a “very important pillar in our Act East Policy”.
“We wish to forge a strong economic relationship with Vietnam that can mutually benefit our citizens. Strengthening the people to people ties will also be my endeavour during the Vietnam visit,” the premier said on his Facebook page today.
India’s ONGC Videsh Limited is engaged in oil exploration projects in Vietnam for over three decades and there may be announcements about new projects in the sector during the bilateral visit, which is taking place after a gap of 15 years.