Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau
Photo: Dai Doan Ket ( Great Unity) newspaper
Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh began a visit to India on February 11 out for an official visit to India at the invitation of Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu. Her trip is poised to be one of the year’s major events in terms of the bilateral relationship between the two countries. Regarding the significance of the trip, the Vietnamese diplomat stated that the visit is part of regular high-level exchanges between the two sides.
The trip is taking place amid both parties enjoying an ever-closer relationship across a variety of fields. It therefore represents an opportunity for both sides to review their past efforts, move to further strengthen relations, and touch upon a number of issues that need to be addressed in the near future. Some of the issues to be discussed include opening up the markets of both nations to each other's agricultural products, in addition to requesting that India continues supporting Vietnam in important issues such as territorial sovereignty whilst also promoting trade and investment co-operation.
The visit is also transpiring amid the impending opening of new direct air routes between the two countries, with Hanoi, Da Nang, and Ho Chi Minh City set to be linked with Delhi and Mumbai, two of India’s largest cities. The opening of a representative office for VOV in Delhi, along with a signing ceremony for a co-operation document between VOV and Indian news agency Asian News International, will also be the focus of the trip.
The occasion gives both sides the chance to further discuss domestic and international issues of common concern, whilst also outlining new positions that will serve to promote the mutual partnership going forward.
Upon being asked about how the opening of the 13th VOV bureau in India will contribute to deepening ties between the two nations, Ambassador Chau said the opening of VOV's office in India will play a crucial role in fostering bilateral ties.
The presence of a bureau belonging to VOV in India will serve to change the perception of Vietnamese nationals about India. Indeed, the office will showcase a more modern image of the country and its people, as well as allowing for closer co-operation between both sides. With changing perceptions and perspectives from both parties, opportunities for a wide range of co-operation activities will become increasingly open, the diplomat noted.
VOV will work alongside news agencies based in India to introduce the potential for co-operation, and promote the cultural features, tourism links, and investment opportunities that are available for the two sides. The opening of the bureau is therefore seen as a major turning point in promoting greater awareness and understanding of Vietnamese people about India, whilst simultaneously helping to boost knowledge about the country among Indian nationals.
Regarding the opening of a new direct air route between major cities in Vietnam and India, Ambassador Chau said Vietjet Air has been putting on direct flights from Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City to Delhi since December 2019. Previously, there had also been direct air routes between Da Nang to Mumbai and Delhi, whilst IndiGo, an Indian airline, also began operating direct flights between Kolkata to Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City from October.
The operation of direct air routes has therefore created a breakthrough in boosting relations, with co-operation in tourism now a prominent aspect of the mutual relationship between the two countries.
According to statistics released by the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism, between October and December, the number of Indian visitors to the country surged by 5 per cent. In the current context of the ongoing coronavirus epidemic, the Indian market will serve as a demographic that plays an important role in maintaining the number of international arrivals to the nation due to the struggles that Chinese tourists now face when travelling abroad.
The opening of direct air routes, along with the VOV representative office in India, is set to provide an effective and practical contribution to promoting bilateral relations. It is hoped that these moves will serve to help raise the number of tourists and investment co-operation projects between the two sides, Ambassador Chau added.