Strategic Partnership between India and Vietnam is Growing

~ By Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan

Vietnam’s social-economic development:

Amid complex developments in the global political and security landscape,coupled with a slow recovery of the world economy, Vietnam is still able to maintain relatively high growth and stability. During 2011-2015, GDP growth stood at 5.82% per annum and is projected to reach 6.5% in 2016.We are striving to achieve a growth of 6.5-7% in the next 4 years (2017-2020). The size and strength of the economy continues to grow. Foreign investors have great confidence and see Vietnam as a destination for investmentowing tothe followingreasons:

First, the Vietnam’s political – social stabilityis maintained. Vietnam is an open economy with a steady growth in trade:  two-way trade during 2011-2015 grew by15%, reaching 330 billion USD in 2015 (equivalent to 1.6 times the size of GDP). We are striving to achieve the target of 600 billion USDby 2020. So far, Vietnam has received nearly 290 billion USD in FDI with more than 22,000 projects from 116 countries and territories.

Second, Vietnam is actively promoting international integration with a focus on economic integration. We have participated in the ASEAN Community (with a population of 650 million people, a GDP of 2.500 billion USD). 13 free trade agreements (FTAs) have been concluded, including many next-generation Agreements such as the Regional Comprehensive Economic Partnership (RCEP) in which Vietnam and India areboth participating countries.

Third, Vietnam’s legal framework has gradually improved to support economic development. The 2013 Constitution lays an important foundation for improving business and investment environment. A number of important legislations such as Procurement Law, Investment Law, Corporate Laware being reviewed and amended to create a more conducive environment and equality for both Vietnamese and foreign businesses.

Fourth, with a population of over 91 million, Vietnamhas a labor force accounting for 70% of the population with enhanced training and quality. Vietnamhas entered a “golden population” period. Thiswill provide opportunitiesfor investors asVietnamwill become a very promising market for business and trade. The size and purchasing power of theVietnamese market continues to attain steady and stable growth as compared to other markets in Asia.

Fifth, there remain vastpotentials for furtherdevelopment in Vietnam, especially in infrastructure such as road, railway, aviation, the areas,which need very large amount of capital. Vietnamhas great strength and can makefurther development in agriculture and processing industry.In particular, tourism is also a potential area. The country boasts a long coastline along with a large number of historical sites, beautiful landscapes and cultural heritages recognized by UNESCO. In recent years, revenues from tourism have recorded an annual increase of 21%. Vietnam welcomed more than 8.7 million international visitors in 2015. However this numberremains low compared to neighboring countries such as Thailand, Singapore or Malaysia.

India is amongVietnam’s 10 largest trade partners with an annual two-way trade of about 5.5 billion USD.We hope to welcome an increasing number oflarge Indian corporations to invest in the country, making India one of the leading investors. We appreciatethat India has provided incentive credits and technical assistance,capacity building in areas that Vietnamhas the demand such as infrastructure, transport, digital technology, English training, capacity building for small and medium enterprises. In the coming time, we suggest that the two countries should expand cooperation in new areas such as the use of atomic energy for peaceful purposes, research and use of space for peaceful purposes, renewable energy, energyefficiency, and high-technology.

Vietnam’s foreign policy and the relations with India

The foreign policy of Vietnamis further inherited and developed from the outcomes of recent Congresses of the Communist Party of Vietnam. Vietnamconsistently pursues a foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, cooperation and development; multilateralisation and diversification of relations and proactive international integration. Vietnamwants to be a friend, a reliable partner and a responsible member of the international community.

Vietnamgives prioritiesto relations with neighboring countries, major partners and key partners.Accordingly, India-as a comprehensive strategic partner- continues to be a priority partnerof Vietnam. India is among the four countrieswith which Vietnamhas established comprehensive strategic partnership. Vietnamand India are two brotherly countries, having a long tradition of friendship.  The great and deepfriendship between the twopeoples were founded by President Ho Chi Minh and Prime Minister, Jawaharlal Nehru and nurtured by generations of leaders. Vietnamalways treasures the warm sentiments, the invaluable support and assistance extended by Government and people of India to our country during our past struggle for national independence as well as in the current cause of national development. The Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Vietnamand India is growing strongly and extensively, ranging from political, diplomatic, defense and security cooperation to trade, investment, science and technology, education and training, culture and people exchange.

Vietnamsupports the “ActEast policy” of India. We hope that India will promotea more practical and effective partnership with ASEAN and implement successfully the strategy to connect the Indian Ocean and the Pacific, further enhance India’srole and position in the region and in the world. Vietnamstands ready to support India’s candidacy as permanent member of the UN Security Council when it is expanded. Vietnamhopes India will play a greater role in Asia-Pacific. We support India’s joining to APEC when the decision on the suspension of admitting new membership is removed and on the basis of consensus among all members.

Vietnamhighly appreciatesIndia’spositive stance on the East Seaissue (South China Sea), in which India will continue to promote the non-militarization, respect for the diplomatic and legal processes, settlement of disputes by peaceful means in accordance with international law, in order to maintain peace, stability, security, safety of navigation and over-flight in the East Sea. The National Assembly of Vietnamwelcomes India tofurther maintain and enhance the cooperation in oil and gas exploration with Vietnamin the East Sea.

– To the prosperity of India and happiness of its people!

– To the further consolidation and development of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between Viet Nam and India, and between the two Legislatures.

– To the good health of you all present here today.

(This article is the gist of the remarks by H.E. Ms. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, President of the National Assembly of Viet Nam at the civic reception hosted in her honour by India Foundation on 10thDecember, 2016 at New Delhi)