21 November 2013

Prime Minister’s speech at the banquet hosted in the honour of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam

Dr. Manmohan Singh
Following is the text of Prime Minister, Dr. Manmohan Singh’s speech at the banquet hosted in the honour of the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam in New Delhi today: 

“It is a great pleasure tonight for me to welcome amongst us His Excellency the General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam on his first State visit to India. Excellency, your visit to India in 2010 as the Chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly added great momentum to our relationship. Tonight, we welcome you back as a friend and a leader of a great country - a nation that has stood as a symbol of resilience, resolve and heroism for generations of Indians and which is now a vibrant economy at the heart of a dynamic region. Your leadership, Excellency, is vital not only for Vietnam’s progress, but also for our region’s stability and prosperity. 

Excellency, if Bodh Gaya is the symbol of our shared spiritual heritage, the historic Cham monuments in My Son in Vietnam equally bear witness to the vigorous civilizational links between our two countries. Our great leaders, Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru and President Ho Chi Minh, forged a partnership in the wake of the retreat of colonialism from Asia. Theirs was a relationship based on mutual trust and respect, sentiments which have also been our guiding principles as we have slowly built our relationship in the modern era. 

Today, in this new century, at a time of new dynamism in our two economies and in a resurgent Asia of great promise and many challenges, our relationship holds ever greater promise. 

It was to fulfil this promise that, six years ago, our two countries embarked on a new journey of Strategic Partnership. It is a partnership of great character, diversity and depth. Our political engagement and our growing defence and security relationship are of immense value to our two countries. Our convergent interests, including in maritime security, have translated into productive partnerships in regional and multilateral fora. 

Our economic and energy relations are growing. We are working together on oil exploration and production in the East Sea and your offer of new blocks for exploration and award of a 1.8 billion U.S. dollar power project to Indian companies demonstrate the promise of our economic relations. 

India’s support in the 1970s for the transformation of Vietnam’s rice cultivation and, now, in your special gesture of establishing Vietnam’s first overseas catfish breeding farm in India, are very special symbols of friendship and mutual support in capacity building, which now also covers areas such as information technology, education and science and technology. 

Excellency, Vietnam is an important pillar of our Look East Policy and crucial for our vision of India’s integration with ASEAN. As India-Vietnam relations prosper, India-ASEAN relations will also deepen. As heirs to the ancient wisdom of Asia and blessed with the energy of its youth, India and Vietnam have common interests, profound responsibility and enormous opportunities to promote peace, stability and prosperity in Asia Pacific. 

Long ago, a Vietnamese monk said, "We have more possibilities in a moment than we realise”. Your visit, Excellency, shows that we are seizing every possibility and every moment to make our relationship richer and bring our people closer. With those words, Ladies and Gentlemen, may I request you to join me in a toast to:

1. the good health and happiness of His Excellency Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam; 

2. the prosperity and happiness of the people of Vietnam and; 

3. the everlasting friendship between India and Vietnam. 

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