India committed to work with ASEAN: Ansari



Ho Chi Minh City: India is committed to work with ASEAN, particularly with Vietnam, to enhance security and add greater content to bilateral strategic partnership, Vice President Hamid Ansari said on Wednesday.

"India is committed to work together with the ASEAN region in general, and with Vietnam in particular, to enhance security, achieve greater economic prosperity, and enhanced connectivity.

"We stand ready to exploit the considerable untapped potential for further strengthening our bilateral trade-economic cooperation, and to add greater content to our strategic partnership," Ansari said.

He was speaking at a banquet hosted in his honour by Le Hoang Quan, Chairman of the People's Committee of Ho Chi Minh City, the economic capital of Vietnam.

India and Vietnam further strengthened their bilateral relations by entering into a strategic partnership in 2007.

The two countries are also looking forward to improving trade and investment as well as giving a boost to tourism and other sectors.

"In this endeavour, I look forward to closer collaboration between India and Ho Chi Minh City which has attracted many Indian investors, traders and professionals over the years.

"Our investments in Vietnam currently exceed USD 800 million, and our trade that has already crossed USD 4 billion, is on track to meet the target of USD 7 billion by 2015," Ansari said.

India has also opened a line of credit for Vietnam in its bid to reach out to the South East Asian country.

It is helping Hanoi in agriculture, capacity building and education and training of the youth.

Praising the Ho Chi Minh City, Ansari said a sense of optimism pervades the dynamic and fast developing city.

Realising the economic potential of Ho Chi Minh City, India has cultivated its relations with it over the years.

"We fondly recall your visit to India in November, 2010, and deeply value your personal support towards more frequent business, cultural and educational exchanges between Ho Chi Minh City and India," Ansari told Quang in his speech.

Earlier in the day, Ansari visited the History and War museums in this city.

Writing in the Visitor's Book at the History Museum, Ansari said, "The Funan and Champa exhibits attest the ancient ties between India and Vietnam which we cherish to this day.

"Our Buddhist heritage is common and it brings us together spiritually."

At the War Museum, Ansari wrote that both countries have shaken off the yoke of colonial rule.

"India has been privileged to be with Vietnam in its struggle for freedom and independence. My admiration is for the valiant people of Vietnam, who endured great suffering and emerged victorious in the end. We all should eschew violence and find peaceful solutions to conflicts," he wrote in the Visitor's Book.

PTI