Indian Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj will visit Vietnam next week to boost bilateral ties, Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesman Le Hai Binh told the press Thursday.
Swaraj will discuss measures to strengthen the Vietnam-India strategic partnership as well as regional and international issues with Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh during her visit on August 25-26, Binh said.
The Times of India reported Thursday that Vietnam has renewed India's lease of two oil blocks in the East Sea, internationally known as South China Sea, for another year, prior to Swaraj’s visit.
India's ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) gave up the oil blocks 128 in 2012 after it concluded there is little prospect of striking oil in that area, but Vietnam persuaded India to stay on to explore further, the newspaper reported.
The lease expired this year and has just been renewed, it said.
In a recent interview with the India Writes Network, Vietnamese Ambassador to India Nguyen Thanh Tan said Minister Swaraj’s visit, to be followed by a visit by Indian President Pranab Mukherjee, is a confirmation of India’s policy towards Vietnam.
He affirmed that Vietnam will continue to support India’s Look East policy and is a loyal and all-weather friend of India.