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Ambassador’s Remarks at the Webinar on Cooperation Promotion: India-Khan Hoa Province

Posted on: March 25, 2021 | Back | Print

Good morning, Namaskar, Xin Chao:

I am happy to have this opportunity to speak to you on the occasion of the launch of this collaborative event organised by the Consulate General of India in Ho Chi Minh City and Khan Hoa Provincial Government to promote trade, investment and people-to-people contacts.

I thank Chairman of the Khan Hoa Provincial People’s Committee. H.E. Nguyen Tan Tuan for supporting this initiative with our Consulate General of India. I am happy that both sides have identified areas that promise great potential for collaboration.

During my meeting with the Party Secretary of Khanh Hoa, H.E. Nguyễn Khac Dinh in Nha Trang earlier this year when I visited Nha Trang on 12th January, I had the opportunity to discuss a number of proposals to promote cooperation between Khanh Hoa province and India in wide-ranging areas, including trade and economy, development infrastructure, capacity building, culture and tourism. Party Secretary Dinh warmly supported those proposals.

I am happy that our Consulate General in Ho Chi Minh City has worked together with the Khan Hoa Provincial authorities to follow up on those discussions to hold this event today for initiating a comprehensive collaboration.  

The bilateral relations between India and Vietnam have grown from strength to strength in recent years. As Comprehensive Strategic Partners, there is a wide range of areas in which we are collaborating today – ranging from political engagement to trade and investment ties, energy cooperation, development partnership, defence and security cooperation, cultural and people-to-people exchanges. During the Virtual Summit between our Prime Ministers in December 2020, they adopted a historic “Joint Vision for Peace, Prosperity and People” that will guide the future development of our ties. Trade, economic and tourism ties, which are the focus areas of today’s webinar are important segments of our bilateral engagement identified in that Joint Vision.

India values Vietnam as an important pillar of our Act East policy and our Indo-Pacific Vision. In both these constructs, we place a lot of importance on 3 C’s – Connectivity, Commerce and Culture. Khan Hoa Province is located in a strategically important location in the Indo-Pacific region for Vietnam and hence its importance would grow with time in all these 3 C’s.

As two fast growing economies with similar developmental aspirations, India and Vietnam are natural partners for economic and development cooperation.  

In our trade engagement, if you compare where we were and where we have come, it is quite impressive.  We had a trade of $ 200 million in year 2000. Today we are at US$ 12 billion. In 2019, India was the 7th largest trading partner of Vietnam.  But I do agree that it is still not up to the mark and not commensurate with the levels of our economic development and the fact that we both are among the fastest growing economies in the world today.  So there needs to be a new push to move our trading engagement forward. In the current context, greater use of technology to connect businesses, including our SME sectors and agricultural producers, is essential in finding newer opportunities.

In terms of investment, as of last year, India has about 294 projects in Vietnam with total invested capital of US$ 898 million in the sectors of energy, mineral exploration, agro-processing, sugar, tea, coffee manufacturing, agrochemicals, IT and auto-components. This figure goes up to US$ 1.9 billion if investments through third countries are also included. On the other hand, Vietnamese investments in India is about US$ 29 million, primarily in areas of pharmaceuticals, IT, chemicals and construction materials. All these figures need to move in an upward trajectory and there is also a need for diversifying the basket in terms of trade and investment.

Hospitality sector as one area that offers great business opportunities for India and Vietnam. Indian tourist arrivals in Vietnam have been steadily rising, reaching almost 170,000 in 2019, which marked an increase of over 25% compared to 2018. The launch of direct flight in Oct 2019 helped in enhancing the tourism exchanges considerably.  I am sure that this trend would continue once the international travel resumes after the pandemic.

However, this exchange is largely dominated by Indian tourists visiting Vietnam, while the number of Vietnamese tourists visiting India has remained relatively low, around 35,000 in 2019, which is a small part of Vietnam’s total outbound tourist traffic. There is significant scope to enhance this number.

Our shared Buddhist heritage could be a major magnet for promotion of tourism between India and Vietnam. In addition, India’s attractions in medical, adventure and spiritual tourism can have many takers in Vietnam, as Vietnam itself is emerging as a major outbound tourism market in Asia.

Similarly, Nha Trang’s natural beauty and cultural richness, particularly those related to Cham civilization can be of great interest to Indian tourists.

Recently, the Indian government announced a series of measures to promote tourism in India. Including a very liberalized e-visa regime with significant reduction in the e-visa fees, which will greatly facilitate tourists from Vietnam visiting India.

I hope that today’s event will help in generating awareness and attracting potential tourists from both countries. Our tour operators have a major role in creating opportunities and catering to these market demands. 

The direct air connectivity launched by Indigo and Vietjet between major cities of India and Vietnam has certainly encouraged more tourists. We need to explore more direct air destinations.

Our Prime Minister’s vision of Aatma-Nirbhar Bharat – which is the Indian phrase for “Self-Reliant India”, has brought a new phase of investment opportunities in India, helping India in building capacities at home so that it can become a more effective contributor to the global value chains.  We believe that a “self-reliant India” will be an important platform on which we can build our economic engagement with Provinces of Vietnam, including Khanh Hoa.  

I welcome today’s event in this regard and hope that today’s presentations and subsequent discussions would explore concrete ways to promote tourism, trade and investment ties between India and Khan Hoa Province.  

Thank you.