SPEECH BY THE PRESIDENT OF INDIA, SMT. PRATIBHA DEVISINGH PATIL AT THE BANQUET IN HONOUR OF THE PRESIDENT OF THE SOCIALIST REPUBLIC OF VIETNAM, H.E. MR. TRUONG TAN SANG
New Delhi, 12th October 2011
Your Excellency, Mr. Truong Tan Sang, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam,
Madam Mai Thi Hanh,
Ladies and Gentlemen,
I extend a very warm welcome to Your Excellency, on your State Visit to India. Allow me to felicitate you on the successful conclusion of your elections to the 13th National Assembly in May this year. I would also like to congratulate you personally on your election as the President of Vietnam. I have very fond memories of my visit to your great country in November 2008, where I witnessed the remarkable strides being made for the progress and prosperity of your people.
Vietnam has a special place in the hearts of the Indian people. We have great admiration for the indomitable spirit of the Vietnamese people, for their determination to succeed against all odds, and for their tenacity and courage. Today, the same attributes of the national character are driving your reconstruction and economic development. I would like to compliment the Vietnamese leadership and people for these remarkable achievements.
India and Vietnam share a long tradition of close and cordial relations, whose foundations were laid by our great leaders Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru and President Ho Chi Minh. Successive generations of our leaders have nurtured our friendship, which has now been elevated to the level of a "Strategic Partnership".
Our Strategic Partnership is founded on a common vision, shared interests and mutual trust and long-standing friendship. We are convinced that it will promote peace, stability and security in this region and the world. We stand ready to impart greater content to our partnership for mutual benefit. The agreements and MoUs that we have signed today will open new avenues for bilateral co-operation.
Excellency, Our bilateral economic and trade ties have grown significantly in recent years. Bilateral trade is expected to exceed US $ 3.5 billion this year. We have set a target of US $ 7 billion by 2015. This will require sustained efforts from both countries. The newly launched India-Vietnam Business Forum will generate greater awareness about mutually beneficial business opportunities, thereby facilitating trade and investment. I am confident that the Government of Vietnam will continue to provide a congenial atmosphere for Indian investors and businesses to operate in Vietnam.
We welcome our strategic understanding and co-operation at regional and multilateral forums like ASEAN, Mekong-Ganga Cooperation, East Asia Summit, ASEM and international organisations like the UN and WTO. We deeply appreciate Vietnam's support to India's candidature as a permanent member of an expanded UN Security Council. As two developing countries with a stake in the future, we must take advantage of our synergies to jointly face emerging challenges and also to exploit new opportunities.
India has always considered it a privilege to be a partner in Vietnam's development process. We enjoy robust co-operation in the spheres of defence and security. We are happy to assist in the modernisation of your armed forces. Our co-operation in diverse areas such as agriculture, science and technology, education, capacity building and human resource development is growing. We should learn from each others experiences and expertise in these areas. I am pleased to learn that the India-Vietnam Advanced Resource Centre in Information and Communication Technology has recently been inaugurated in Hanoi. As two rapidly developing countries with a young, dynamic population, we must seize new avenues for co-operation that will take our partnership from strength to strength.
Your Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen, it gives me great pleasure to invite you all to join me in a toast:-
- to the good health and happiness of His Excellency Mr. Truong Tan Sang and Madam Mai Thi Hanh;
- to the well-being and prosperity of the friendly people of Vietnam; and
- to the everlasting friendship between India and Vietnam.