India and Vietnam sign 7 strategic pacts
President Pranab Mukherjee is on a four-day state visit to Vietnam where he met his counterpart Truong Tan Sang. The two leaders signed 7 pacts and reaffirmed their stances on the freedom of navigation in the disputed waters of South China Sea. Mr. Mukherjee asked all the concerned parties to exercise restrain and not impede the movement across the said region. The stance can be a source of concern for China who has been claiming territorial sovereignty over the high seas.
Both the nations have decided to take the relation to a new high and decided to 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. As part of the joint statement, the two sides also agreed to cooperate for peace, stability, growth and prosperity in the region. In case of South China Sea dispute they stated that all parties should abide by international commitments and principles set by international law including the UNCLOS-1982. The two sides urged for collective commitment of the concerned parties to abide by and implement the 2002 Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea and to work to agree for the adoption of a Code of Conduct in the South China Sea based on mutual agreement.
There were 7 pacts signed including the one between ONGC and Vietnam Oil, extending a dollar credit line between Vietnam and EXIM Bank of India, agreement on co-operation and mutual assistance in customs matters, MoU on animal health, MoU on setting up of Pangasius breeding and farming in India, MoU on operating and jointly promoting direct air services between Vietnam Airlines and domestic Indian air carrier Jet Airways and MoU on cooperation in youth affairs and skill development.
President Mukherjee was given a guard of honor upon his arrival at the Presidential palace and also planted a sapling of the Holy Bodhi Tree along with his Vietnamese counterpart.