New Delhi, Oct 12 (ANI): Emphasising that India and Vietnam face common security challenges from terrorism and piracy, Prime Minister Dr. Manmohan Singh on Wednesday said that both nations have agreed to strengthen exchanges in these fields.
Addressing a joint press briefing along with visiting Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang, Dr. Singh said: "India and Vietnam are maritime neighbours. We face common security challenges from terrorism, piracy and natural disasters. We believe that it is important to ensure the safety and security of the vital sea lanes of communication. We have agreed to continue and strengthen our exchanges in these fields."
"We have instituted a mechanism of a biennial dialogue on security issues between our Ministry of Home Affairs and its Vietnamese counterpart. The Extradition Treaty signed today will provide a legal and institutional basis for our cooperation," he added.
Dr Manmohan Singh said that India and Vietnam would strengthen cooperation in the fields of trade and economic cooperation, energy, defence and security.
"Vietnam is among the most dynamic economies in Asia and we wish to build a strategic partnership with Vietnam that responds to the aspirations of both our peoples," said Dr. Singh.
"Our bilateral trade has reached 2.7 billion dollars last year. We have set ourselves the target to increase it to seven billion dollars by 2015. We have agreed to work towards an early finalization of the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement in services and investment," he added.
India and Vietnam, he said, are committed to greater investment flows. " Several Indian companies are working in Vietnam, and we similarly welcome Vietnamese investments in India. We will continue to render assistance to Vietnam in its capacity building and human resource development efforts."
"We have identified several other areas of cooperation such as people-to-people exchanges, energy, science and technology, information and communications technology and conservation and restoration of Indian cultural relics in Vietnam," he added.
Recalling that 2012 will mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between India and Vietnam. Dr. Singh said: "We have agreed to celebrate 2012 as the Year of Friendship between India and Vietnam. We will also organize the 'Year of India in Vietnam' in 2012."
Dr Manmohan Singh said that India and Vietnam have also agreed to strengthen cooperation in platforms like the ASEAN, the East Asia Summit and the Asean Defence Ministers' Plus Eight Dialogue. (ANI)