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"I am delighted to welcome His Excellency Mr. Truong Tan Sang, the President of Vietnam on his State visit to India.
This is the first visit by the President outside the ASEAN region and reflects the importance attached by both sides to our relationship.
India's relations with Vietnam are rooted in antiquity. They have been strengthened by successive generations of leaders and strong mutual trust and goodwill. Today, our relations cover the areas of trade and economic cooperation, capacity building and assistance, cultural exchanges, energy, defence and security.
Vietnam is among the most dynamic economies in Asia and we wish to build a strategic partnership with Vietnam that responds to the aspirations of both our peoples.
In our talks today the President and I have agreed to intensify cooperation across a broad range of sectors.
Our bilateral trade has reached 2.7 billion US dollars last year. We have set ourselves the target to increase it to 7 billion US dollars by 2015. We have agreed to work towards an early finalization of the India-ASEAN Free Trade Agreement in Services and Investment.
I conveyed to the President that we are committed to greater investment flows between our two countries. Several Indian companies are working in Vietnam, and we similarly welcome Vietnamese investments in India. We will continue to render assistance to Vietnam in its capacity building and human resource development efforts.
India and Vietnam are maritime neighbours. We face common security challenges from terrorism, piracy and natural disasters. We believe that it is important to ensure the safety and security of the vital sea lanes of communication. We have agreed to continue and strengthen our exchanges in these fields.
We have instituted a mechanism of a biennial dialogue on security issues between our Ministry of Home Affairs and its Vietnamese counterpart. The Extradition Treaty signed today will provide a legal and institutional basis for our cooperation.
We have identified several other areas of cooperation such as people-to-people exchanges, energy, science and technology, information and communications technology and conservation and restoration of Indian cultural relics in Vietnam.
Next year will mark the 40th anniversary of the establishment of full diplomatic relations between our two countries. It will also mark twenty years of India's Dialogue Partnership with ASEAN. We have agreed to celebrate 2012 as the Year of Friendship between India and Vietnam. We will also organize the 'Year of India in Vietnam' in 2012.
Developing close relations with Vietnam is an important component of our Look East Policy. We have agreed to strengthen our cooperation in regional mechanisms such as the ASEAN, the ASEAN Regional Forum, the East Asia Summit and the Asean Defence Ministers Plus Eight Dialogue.
A strong India-Vietnam partnership is a factor of peace, stability and development in the Asia-Pacific region. It is a partnership that stands on its own merits.
The President's visit has given a new thrust and direction to our partnership. I once again extend a very cordial welcome to him and wish him a pleasant and fruitful stay in India.
I thank you."