Thanh highlighted economic cooperation as one of the five pillars of the Vietnam-India Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which was set up during the visit of Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Vietnam in September 2016.
During the visit of President Tran Dai Quang and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc to India earlier this year, leaders of both sides called for concerted efforts to boost bilateral economic relations, in particular elevating bilateral trade to US$15 billion by 2020, the diplomat said.
He expressed his confidence that the goal would be achieved for the three following reasons. Firstly, Vietnam and India boast a strong political foundation, facilitating the expansion of economic ties. Secondly, both Vietnam and India have posted robust economic growth in recent times, creating many opportunities for economic cooperation. Lastly, bilateral economic ties have already progressed well over the past few years and are likely to continue doing so, he explained.
Last year, bilateral trade amounted to US$7.7 billion, an increase of 42% from the previous year. In the first half of 2018, the figure rose by 48% year-on-year to US$5.44 billion and, if this trend continues, it can reach US$11 billion by the end of this year, Thanh noted.
However, the Vietnamese ambassador noted that there are many opportunities for economic cooperation between the two countries that have yet to be tapped. He cited the fact that two-way trade remains modest compared to the US$425 billion in Vietnam’s total foreign trade and India’s US$781 billion last year. The number accounted for less than 10% of trade between India and ASEAN nations.
Minister of State for External Affairs V. K. Singh said the two nations possess huge potential to expand cooperation in the fields of pharmaceuticals, health care, petroleum, renewable energy, agriculture, tourism, textile and garments, leather, and mining.
Minister of Commerce and Industry Suresh Prabhu referred to Vietnam as one of the fastest growing economies in ASEAN and as a bridge between India and other member countries of the bloc. The two sides have established strong partnership in oil exploitation, manufacturing, defence, and services.