President Ram Nath Kovind is likely to visit Vietnam in December 2018, a senior official at the Vietnamese Embassy said on Tuesday, September 25. Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang had met Kovind in March 2018 and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, had called on him at the Rashtrapati Bhavan in New Delhi during his visit to India in January 2018.
"Our prime minister had visited India as one the chief guests for the 69th Republic Day celebrations in January. And, our president then visited India in March. We (India, Vietnam) have very old ties, especially our cultural ties," the official said on the sidelines of an event here.
He said External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Vietnam in August and the Minister of State for External Affairs, M J Akbar, paid a visit to the country from September 10-13. Minister of State (Independent Charge) for Micro, Small and Medium Enterprises Giriraj Singh visited that country early September.
"The President of India is likely to visit Vietnam in December," the senior Vietnamese Embassy official told PTI.
Earlier, Vietnamese envoy to India Ton Sinh Thanh addressing a gathering of Indian and Vietnamese businessmen, Vietnamese diplomats and representatives from Binh Thuan province, at the event, reiterated that his country has kept a target of USD 15 billion in bilateral trade with India by 2020.
He was speaking at a Vietnam dragon fruit show held at the India International Centre here. Dragon fruit is known as Trai Thanh Long in Vietnam where it grows on endless plantations in Binh Thuan and other provinces. A MoU was signed between Indian Importers Chambers of Commerce and Industry (IICCI) and Binh Thuan Dragon Fruits Association during the event.
Kovind, during the visit of the Vietnamese prime minister, had asserted that India-Vietnam relations are on an upward curve, and the two countries need to enhance cooperation in oil and gas sector. India-Vietnam relations have been exceptionally friendly and cordial since their foundations were laid by founding fathers of the two countries - Ho Chi Minh, President Rajendra Prasad and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru.
According to the Indian Embassy in Hanoi, Nehru was one of the first visitors to Vietnam after its victory against the French at the battle of Dien Bien Phu in 1954. Ho Chi Minh visited India in February 1958 and then President Rajendra Prasad had visited Vietnam in 1959.
Relations between the two countries were elevated to the level of a strategic Partnership during the visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to India in 2007 and in 2016. During Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Vietnam, the two sides agreed to raise the Strategic Partnership to a 'Comprehensive Strategic Partnership'.
To commemorate the 45th anniversary of the establishment of the diplomatic relations and 10 years of Strategic Partnership, the year 2017 was celebrated as the Year of Friendship, the Indian Embassy said.