New Delhi: Vice President Hamid Ansari on Monday left on a four-day state visit to Vietnam to give further impetus to ties between the two countries and is expected to sign some strategic, trade and other bilateral agreements.
During the visit, Ansari will attend the closing ceremony of the celebrations to mark the 40th anniversary of the India-Vietnam diplomatic ties.
Vietnam`s Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh, who visited India last week, had participated in the programme held here to mark the occasion. The two countries had celebrated 2012 as the year of India-Vietnam friendship.
Ansari will also visit Ho Chi Minh city where he will meet the Indian diaspora.
Vietnam has spoken out openly against Chinese intervention in the South China Sea, an area where India and China had some issues a few months back.
While India maintains that it is merely involved in economic activities like oil exploration in South China Sea, China feels India is trying to develop a strategic presence in the area.
This issue has brought India and Vietnam closer. Vietnam has stated that talks on these issues should be on the six- point principle of ASEAN and the 1982 United Nations Convention of the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).
The two countries are also working on increasing cooperation in fields of defence and security.
Defence cooperation between the two nations has been on since 2007 when relations were elevated to the level of strategic partnership.
India has been providing training to Vietnamese forces. Indian Navy has also made port calls in Vietnam. Defence and strategic dialogues have taken place on several occasions between the two countries.
Both countries have set a bilateral trade target of USD 7 billion with a 2015 deadline.
Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung had visited New Delhi for the recent India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit.
Before Ansari`s visit, Tourism Minister K Chiranjeevi had paid a four-day visit to Vietnam.
India considers Vietnam as an important part of its Look East Policy.