Keen to bolster India’s bilateral ties with the strategically-important Vietnam, External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj visited Vietnam on 24 August 2014, with a focus on connectivity, trade, defence and security cooperation.
Ms Sushma Swaraj held bilateral talks with her Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh and also called on President Truong Tan Sang and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung.
Under the new BJP-led government, India has adopted an “Act East Policy” for which Vietnam is an important country. The visit to Vietnam came just days after Hanoi renewed India’s lease of two oil blocks in South China Sea for another year, a move that could rile China.
China and Vietnam have an acrimonious relationship due to their stand-off over the South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. Vietnam is looking at India for a deeper defence cooperation which includes possible procurement of weaponry besides training especially that of the Navy.
Both the countries also have a fairly robust economic ties and the bilateral trade stands at USD 8 billion, of which Indian exports to the country is about USD 5.4 billion.