The diplomat made the statement in a June 9 interview granted to The Economic Times pertaining to the recent victory of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) in India’s political elections.
Tan was brimming with hope that under the leadership of the new government, India will expand its presence in Southeast Asia, counterbalancing the rise of other forces in the region.
Vietnam is looking forward to the upcoming visit to Hanoi by President Pranab Mukherjee slated for later this year, during which both sides are expected to sign a number of important cooperation agreements in such fields as security and economics, he said.
The ambassador said India’s enhanced presence in the region should contribute to stabilisation in the Southeast Asian region.
Presently India has invested heavily in oil and gas in Vietnam. It has decided to continue exploitation at bloc 128, and plans to work on other lots in Vietnam’s continental shelf.
Vietnam also has tremendous investment opportunities for the Indian business community in other fields, including power generation and steel making, he said, citing TATA Group’s US$1.8 billion power plant as a typical example.
Tan said he expects direct air routes between India and Vietnam will be launched in 2014-2015, giving fresh impetus to bilateral economic cooperation in a variety of areas.
The new air routes should also have a positive impact on tourism, he said. The two countries are currently jointly promoting tourism cooperation in the hope of attracting around 500,000 Indian visitors to Vietnam each year.
Tan also revealed that the two countries will soon sign a memorandum of understanding (MoU) on national defence, under which plans to provide US$100 million for Vietnam to buy maritime patrol vessels.
The current Government is openly committed to pursuing the Look East Policy as evidenced by the fact that India sent its representatives to attend the Conference on Interaction and Confidence-Building Measures in Asia (CICA) and Shangri-La dialogue. This is a good omen showing that bodes well for Vietnam and India future relations, Tan said.
Vietnam is confident that the newly elected Prime Minister Narendra Modi and the Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) will pursue a robust Look East Policy like their predecessors, contributing greatly to stability in the region he concluded.