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Apr 19, 2022 / 22:18

Indian lower house speaker visits Vietnam to enhance strategic relations

Both sides said the political trust between Vietnam and India is significant.

Speaker Om Birla of India’s Lok Sabha (the Lower House) arrived in Vietnam on April 19 as part of efforts to strengthen the comprehensive strategic partnership on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of establishing diplomatic relations in 2022.

 Speaker Om Birla of India’s Lok Sabha (L) and Chairman of Vietnam's National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue in Hanoi on April 19. Photo: VNA

The three-day visit, which marks Birla’s first visit to Vietnam since he took office in June 2019, took place four months after the visit paid to India by Chairman of the Vietnamese National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue.  

On April 19, Om Birla held talks with Vuong Dinh Hue whom he requested to boost cooperation in trade, investment, science-technology, services, and particularly digital transformation, labeling it the sector of strategic cooperation.

Hue agreed with the request, saying that Vietnam attached importance to the economic recovery with the stimulus package worth US$17 billion for 2022-2023.

Birla’s visit is close on the heels of PM Narendra Modi’s conversation with General Secretary of the Vietnam Communist Party (CPV) Nguyen Phu Trong (on April 15) in which Modi reiterated Vietnam is an important pillar of India’s Act East Policy and Indo-Pacific Vision.

It reflects the strong political trust and close relations between Vietnam and India that were founded by Vietnamese President Ho Chi Minh and Indian President Jawaharlal Nehru, both sides said.

Earlier, Indian leaders’ visits to Vietnam included those paid by PM Narendra Modi in September 2016, President Ram Nath Kovind in November 2018, and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu in May 2019.

Relations between the two countries’ legislative bodies have been tightened over the past 10 years with the exchange visits and experience sharing in law-making, as well as implementing the Cooperation Agreement signed by Vietnam’s National Assembly and India’s Lok Sabha in December 2016 and supporting each other in international forums.

To tighten cooperation with Vietnam, the Indian Lok Sabha has set up a group of friendship parliamentarians to boost linkage with those in Vietnam.

Speaker Om Birla and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on April 19. Photo: VGP

On the same day, Om Birla met Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

In the meeting with Chinh, Om Birla was informed of the growing trade with $13.2 billion in 2021, up 37% year on year. To boost the two-way trade, PM Chinh requested India to open doors to Vietnam’s electronic devices, garments, farm produce, and fruits.

At the same time, Chinh affirmed that Vietnam facilitates India’s investment in pharmaceuticals, infrastructure, manufacturing, IT, biotechnology, renewable energy, hi-tech agriculture, and renovation. He also wanted to maintain cooperation in defense-security, culture, tourism, people-to-people ties, and the operations of the joint-governmental committee.

For his part, Om Birla said India will continue supporting Vietnam in improving manpower and conserving cultural heritage.

In the meetings between Om Birla and Vietnamese top leaders, the two sides discussed international issues of mutual concerns and exchanged views on the regional issues, including the South China Sea issues with a focus given on freedom of navigation and aviation in the sea, rule-based order, and solving conflicts in a peaceful manner. 

 Om Birla meets Vietnam’s President Nguyen Xuan Phuc on April 19.