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India, Vietnam to boost trade, maritime, defence cooperation


HANAOI (PTI): Indian External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj on Tuesday held wide-ranging talks with her Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh and discussed steps to boost bilateral trade, investment, maritime and defence cooperation.

Swaraj visited Vietnam on the first leg of her four-day two-nation tour aimed at deepening India's strategic cooperation with Vietnam and Cambodia, the key countries in the ASEAN region.

She was received by Minh at the government guest house of Vietnam, the official Twitter account of the Embassy of India in Vietnam said in a tweet.

"Deepening our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership! EAM @SushmaSwaraj and Foreign Minister of Vietnam Pham Binh Minh led delegation level talks where trade, investment, maritime and defence cooperation were discussed," Ministry of External Affairs spokesperson Raveesh Kumar tweeted.

Swaraj co-chaired the 16th meeting of the Joint Commission along with the Vietnamese foreign minister.

Earlier, addressing the 3rd Indian Ocean Conference here on Tuesday, Swaraj said India and Vietnam are connected not only by the common waters but also by a shared vision for peace and prosperity.

Hanoi is therefore a particularly appropriate setting to discuss developments in the Indian Ocean and the Indo-Pacific region, she said.

Swaraj said India and Vietnam have agreed to further strengthen cooperation in the maritime domain, including on anti-piracy, security of sea lanes and exchange of white shipping information.

"We also agreed on the importance of the early conclusion of an ASEAN-India Maritime Transport Cooperation Agreement. In this context, we intend to accelerate the establishment of direct shipping routes between the sea ports of India and Vietnam," she said.

On Tuesday, Swaraj met Japanese Foreign Minister Taro Kono and Bangladeshi Planning Minister A H M Mustafa Kamal.

She also held talks with Sri Lanka's Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe.

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