India, Vietnam to beef up strategic ties with president's visit next week

Thanh Nien News

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President President Pranab Mukherjee. Photo: Reuters President President Pranab Mukherjee. Photo: Reuters
Indian Presiden Pranab Mukherjee will visit Vietnam from September 14-17 to strengthen the two countries' cooperation and strategic partnership, according to the state news agency.
Vietnam and India established diplomatic ties in 1972 and a strategic partnership in 2007, and bilateral relations have developed intensively, the Vietnam News Agency said.
President Mukherjee's visit will take place against a backdrop of the Narendra Modi government’s decision to give greater priority to India’s immediate and extended neighbourhood. 
“We consider Vietnam as an important pillar in our Look East Policy. Vietnam has been a strategic partner for India both within ASEAN and in the wider region,” Mukherjee said in an interview to Vietnamese News Agency prior to his state visit.
Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj, during her visit to Hanoi late last month, said India wants to turn its long-standing “Look East” policy into “Acting East” policy.
During her visit, Vietnam and India agreed to deepen cooperation in defence and oil sectors among others. Swaraj's trip came days after Hanoi renewed India’s lease of two oil blocks in Vietnam's East Sea for another year.
The two governments have expected bilateral trade estimated to reach US$8 billion this year, compared to $3.4 billion in 2010. They are striving to increase trade value to $10 billion by 2015 and $15 billion by 2020.

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