India, Vietnam review bilateral cooperation

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Hanoi : India and Vietnam on Tuesday discussed bilateral cooperation across various sectors at the 16th Joint Commission meeting co-chaired by India's External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj and her Vietnamese counterpart Pham Binh Minh here.

India's External Affairs Ministry Spokesperson Raveesh Kumar later tweeted that the two leaders led delegation-level talks where trade, investment, maritime and defence cooperation were discussed.

The India-Vietnam relationship was elevated to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to the Southeast Asian nation in 2016.

With India increasing its engagements with Southeast Asia under New Delhi's 'Act East' Policy, Vietnam has become an important regional partner.

India and Vietnam closely cooperate in various regional forums such as Association of Southeast Asian Nations, East Asia Summit, Mekong Ganga Cooperation, Asia Europe Meeting, besides the United Nations and World Trade Organisation.

Bilateral trade for April-November in fiscal 2016-17 stood at $6.24 billion, according to figures provided by the Indian External Affairs Ministry.

The two countries have agreed to set a bilateral trade target at $15 billion by 2020.

Defence cooperation has emerged as a significant pillar of India's strategic partnership with Vietnam. Indian ships regularly make friendly port calls on Vietnam.

India is also an important development aid partner of Vietnam and has extended several lines of credit for capacity building projects.

On Monday, Sushma Swaraj addressed the 3rd Indian Ocean Conference here and reiterated New Delhi's call for peace and stability in the Indian Ocean region.

The Indian Minister arrived here on Sunday on the first leg of a five-day two-nation tour of Southeast Asia that will also take her to Cambodia.