The Hanoitimes - Vietnamese Ambassador to India Pham Sanh Chau shared his thought about the visit by Indian President Ram Nath Kovind on November 18-20. The goal of US$15 billion trade turnover between India and Vietnam by 2020 is fully achievable and that the two countries can confidently set a new commercial goal.
It is the first visit of the Indian president to Vietnam after his inauguration in July 2016 and the third high level visit between the two countries’ leaders in 2018. Please share your thoughts about this?
Pham Sanh Chau, Vietnamese Ambassador to India at an event on Asia-Pacific region
Vietnam is also the first Asian country that President Ram Nath Kovind pays an official visit after he took office. This reminded me of a historical event that Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru was the first foreign guest to visit Vietnam in 1954 after the victory of Dien Bien Phu. Another interesting thing is that 60 years ago, President Ho Chi Minh paid an official visit to India and was welcomed by Prime Minister J. Nehru and the people of India as "a great revolutionary and a legend hero".
President Ram Nath Kovind's visit is considered a token of traditional friendship and growing effective partnership between the two sides. The regular exchange of high-ranking delegates has also strengthened the political trust between the two countries. The similarities of strategic interests as well as views on international issues have become a solid foundation for the two sides to develop political, defense and security relations. For India, Vietnam plays an important role in “Look East Policy” and as a reliable partner in ASEAN. Meanwhile, Vietnam has always considered India a trustful friend, supported India's greater prominent role in ASEAN.
Could you please elaborate more about the visit?
An important point of the visit is that the first stop of the President Ram Nath Kovind is the My Son Sanctuary in Quang Nam province, which is the UNESCO World Heritage. This is a Hindu monument of the kingdom of Champa, which is currently supported by the Indian government for conservation and embellishment.
For many Indians, visiting My Son is like getting to the familiar values of their own country in a remote Southeast Asian land. Cham towers have become memorials of the deep cultural exchanges between Vietnam and India
More than a month in India, how do you feel about the subcontinent?
It is extremely surprising and interesting. India has inspired new feelings. The first time I came to India was 21 years ago but for a short time when accompanying the top leaders of Vietnam to visit India. At that time, I cannot fully understand the "sub-continent".
My first impression is the green space. Although these days the media reports on the pollution in New Delhi but as a diplomat traveling a lot around the world, I have not seen any countries which have as many green trees as in India.
Another impression is the Indian people. I have met officials, scholars, businesses, and people of India. They are extremely friendly and open people who always look at Vietnam as a developing and dynamic country. Talking with them, I found that the potentiality to expand Vietnam-India cooperation is tremendous.
Are there a lot of reasons to be optimistic about the prospects for trade between the two countries?
Right! Besides good relations in politics - diplomacy, national defense and security, economic and trade cooperation between Vietnam and India in recent years has made remarkable progress. India has become one of the 12 largest trading partners in Vietnam today.
According to the Ministry of Industry and Trade of India, the bilateral trade between India and Vietnam in the fiscal year 2017 reached US$12.83 billion, an increase of 26.96% over the previous year. India’s export to Vietnam reached US$7.81 billion, up by 15.13%. India’ import reached US$5.01 billion, a rise of 51.14%. In the first 10 months of 2018, bilateral trade between the two countries reached US$9.2 billion, an increase of 47% over the same period last year.
With this growth momentum as well as the determination of the governments and businesses, the goal of achieving trade turnover of US$15 billion by 2020 is fully attainable and the two countries can confidently set a new commercial goals.
Thank you, Ambassador!