|Vietnamese Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh (Photo:VNA)
Ambassador Thanh underscored the four major points in the two countries’ relationship during the past two years.
First, bilateral political ties and mutual trust have been strengthened as a result of the frequent exchange of high-level visits, during which 17 more agreements on cooperation across a variety of fields were signed such as economics, defense-security, health care, agriculture, and information technology.
Second, defence-security cooperation has reached the highest level ever with its scope covering all military forces and both sides have also carried out their first joint naval exercise. India has become the most important defence cooperative partner of Vietnam.
Third, economic cooperation has enjoyed exponential growth of more than 40% in two-way trade, from US$5.6 billion in 2016 to US$7.6 billion in 2017. According to statistics from the General Department of Vietnam Customs, bilateral trade turnover hit US$5.44 billion in the first half of the year, a year-on-year rise of 48%. With this growth pattern, the figure for 2018 is likely to exceed the US$10 billion mark.
Fourth, cultural diplomacy related activities are in full swing on the occasion of the 45th anniversary of diplomatic ties and ten years of strategic partnership between the two countries, including the Vietnam Culture Days, photo and painting exhibitions, film festival and art performances. Notably, a Vietnam Book space was set up in India for the first time ever, and a Vietnam Study Centre made its debut in New Delhi.
India is currently maintaining its place as the world's fastest growing economy, thus facilitating trade exchanges between the two countries. Ambassador Thanh praised the Vietnamese Embassy’s tireless efforts to foster economic diplomacy with India through launching a broad range of trade, investment and tourism promotion events to introduce Vietnam to potential Indian partners, while dealing with problems impeding bilateral economic cooperation.
The Vietnamese diplomat emphasized that connectivity plays a key role in bringing about direct benefits to tourism. The number of Indian tourists to Vietnam has increased from 85,000 in 2016 to 110,000 in 2017 and the figure is expected to touch 150,000 this year.
The Vietnamese Embassy has played a part in the opening of a direct flight service between Ho Chi Minh City and New Delhi by Vietjet Air, which is set for October this year. An Indian airline, the Indigo is also destined to open a direct route to Vietnam next year.
Regarding the prospect of the Vietnam-India relationship, the Ambassador said that both sides have a solid foundation with real mutual trust based on shared strategic interests and huge potential for broader cooperation. He said he hopes the relationship between the two nations will grow and flourish in future.