Indian President Ram Nath Kovind and his spouse paid a State visit to Vietnam from November 18 to 20 at the invitation of Party General Secretary and State President Nguyen Phu Trong.

In a report on the visit, the Vietnam News Agency quoted Party General Secretary and President Trong as telling local and international media in Hanoi following talks on November 20 that Vietnam will continue its close cooperation with India to further deepen the comprehensive strategic partnership.

Both placed emphasis on the necessity to deepen the partnership in all sectors and agreed to maintain cooperative mechanisms and carry out high-level agreements and documents inked between the two sides.

They described security and defense as one of the important pillars of bilateral ties and stressed that both sides should strive to remove bottlenecks as well as adopt practical policies and measures to elevate two-way trade with a view to increasing total trade revenue to $15 billion in the near future.

They also reached consensus on stepping up investment promotion activities in fields within India’s strengths that Vietnam has prioritized for development. Both leaders welcomed the cooperation between the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam) and India’s Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) in oil exploration and exploitation in Vietnam, saying that more effective cooperative models should be put in place.

They were also unanimous on bolstering cooperation in culture, tourism, aviation, people-to-people exchanges, and education and training, among others.

Host and guest affirmed their close coordination and support for each other at multilateral forums, especially the UN and the Non-Aligned Movement.

Vietnam welcomed India’s “Act East” policy and spoke highly of its support for ASEAN’s central role in the forming of the regional structure in East Asia. As a coordinator, Vietnam has made significant contributions to fostering ASEAN-India relations, Party General Secretary and President Trong said.

The two leaders stressed the importance of building Indo-Asia-Pacific into a peaceful and prosperous region based on respect of sovereignty, international law, and freedom of aviation and navigation.

Vietnam attaches importance to India’s stance on the East Sea issue in the past and thanks the country for continuing to support Vietnam’s views on the issue.

President Kovind, for his part, thanked Party General Secretary and President Trong for giving him and the Indian delegation a warm welcome. He considers Vietnam a strategic pillar for India in its “Act East” policy and an important dialogue partner in ASEAN.

As comprehensive strategic partners, Vietnam and India enjoy thriving relations based on mutual trust and understanding and close cooperation at multilateral forums, he added.

He expressed his delight over robust economic ties between the two countries, with two-way trade reaching $12.8 billion in 2017. He hopes that with concerted efforts from the both sides they can realize the goal of increasing total trade revenue to $15 billion in 2020.

The Indian President also underlined that similarities in culture have served as a catalyst to strengthening bonds between the two countries.

Following their talks, the two leaders witnessed the signing of several cooperation deals, including memoranda of understanding between the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Jawaharlal Nehru University, the Ministry of Information and Communications and the Indian Ministry of Communication and Information Technology, the Vietnam Chamber of Commerce and Industry and the Indian Confederation of Indian Industry, and the President of the Indian Business Chamber in Vietnam and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs’ Department of Foreign Affairs of Localities.