India, Vietnam ramp up ties, ink seven agreements

Signalling their intent to move closer in various spheres, India and Vietnam Monday signed seven agreements, including one for direct flights between their capitals, for scouting for oil, and an extended line of credit for purchase of defence equipment.

Hanoi: Signalling their intent to move closer in various spheres, India and Vietnam Monday signed seven agreements, including one for direct flights between their capitals, for scouting for oil, and an extended line of credit for purchase of defence equipment.

The seven agreements were signed in the presence of visiting Indian President Pranab Mukherjee and his Vietnamese counterpart Truong Tan Sang.

A joint communique said that the leaders agreed to strengthen and deepen bilateral cooperation on the basis of the Strategic Partnership with focus on political, defence and security cooperation, economic cooperation, science and technology, culture and people-to-people links, technical cooperation and multilateral and regional cooperation.

The leaders agreed that defence and security cooperation was an important pillar of the strategic partnership between the two countries.

They expressed satisfaction with the ongoing cooperation between the two sides in this field and noted that the signing of the MoU for the Line of Credit of $100 million for defence procurement extended by India to Vietnam would open new avenues for cooperation.

The seven agreements were signed in the presence of President Mukherjee and his Vietnamese counterpart Truong Tan Sang.

The air services agreement was between Jet Airways and Air Vietnam while OVL, the overseas arm of oil major ONGC, and Petro Vietnam inked an agreement on exploring two additional blocks off Vietnam.

The other agreements were on agriculture cooperation, cooperation in animal health, customs cooperation, and one on youth affairs and skill development.

After the inking of the agreement, Goyal said that the air services are going "to be very feasible, it is going to be very profitable".

He said the direct flights will start from Nov 5 and "booking has already started".

A Boeing 737 - 800 will be pressed into service and it "is going to be everyday", said Goyal, who expressed full confidence of it being a success.

President Mukherjee is on a four-day state visit to Vietnam that began Sunday.

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