New Delhi: India and Vietnam will seek to
deepen strategic and defence ties apart from inking a couple
of pacts, including an extradition treaty, during the visit of
Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang who arrived in the
country on Tuesday for a three-day tour.
Sang will hold comprehensive talks with Prime Minister
Manmohan Singh tomorrow during which both leaders will discuss
all international, regional and bilateral issues of "mutual
interest", including the ways to strengthen ties in the area
of oil and natural gas exploration.
Asserting that the relationship with Vietnam was not
directed against China, official spokesperson in the Ministry
of External Affairs said the two leaders will discuss entire
gamut of relationship which will include cooperation in
hydercarbon sector also.
He was asked if India will talk about strengthening of
ties in energy sector in the wake of recent objections by
China. Irked by the Indian exploration projects on Vietnamese
blocks in South China Sea, Chinese authorities have raised
objections claiming that it was in their area.
The Chinese claim on the South China Sea has been
rejected by both India and Vietnam, saying as per the UN the
blocks belong to Vietnam. India has also made it clear that
its state-owned firm would continue to explore in the
resource-rich South China Sea.
"......all cooperation projects between Vietnam and
other partners, including ONGC, in the field of oil and gas
are located on the continental shelf within the exclusive
economic zone and under the sovereign rights and jurisdiction
of Vietnam, entirely in conformity with international laws,
especially the 1982 UN Convention on the Law of the Sea," Sang
has said in an interview to PTI ahead of his visit here.
Significantly, the Vietnamese president comes here weeks
after External Affairs Minister S M Krishna`s visit to Hanoi
last month that saw both the countries terming political,
defence and security, trade and investment, credit and
banking, energy including oil and gas exploration as some of
the focus areas for cooperation.
The two countries will also ink a `Friendship` pact to
celebrate the 40th anniversary of the diplomatic relations
next year, Arun Goyal, Joint Secretary (South) in MEA, said
while briefing the reporters on the Presidential visit.
India and Vietnam also have strategic defence ties with
both countries involved in military exercises between all
three wings of defence forces. India also provides training to
police personnel of Vietnam.
Asked if India was ready to have a nuclear cooperation
with Vietnam, officials said though Hanoi has expressed its
interest to other countries on peaceful use of nuclear energy,
there was no cooperation in this sector with India.