With eye on China, India and Vietnam enhance ties; sign I&B, space pacts

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc meet on Wednesday as Asean leaders gather in Delhi. Photo: @MEAIndia (Twitter)

India and Vietnam on Wednesday signed agreements in the areas of information and broadcasting, and space cooperation following a bilateral meeting between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

According to External Affairs Minstry spokesperson Raveesh Kumar, Modi and Phuc "discussed cooperation in trade and investment, defence, maritime and other areas".

"Agreements were signed in areas of information and broadcasting and space cooperation," Kumar tweeted.

During Modi's visit to Vietnam in September 2016, the India-Vietnam relationship was upgraded to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, which Hanoi only has with Moscow and Beijing. 

During that visit, a new defence credit line of $500 million from India was also announced, a step which assumes significance given China's aggressive behaviour in the South China region.

Vietnam is currently the country coordinator for India in Asean and will hand over the role to Thailand later this year.

Prior to his meeting with Phuc on Wednesday, Modi held a bilateral meeting with Myanmar State Counsellor Aung San Suu Kyi.

Phuc was the first of the 10 southeast Asian leaders to arrive here on Wednesday morning to attend the Commemorative Summit to mark 25 years of the India-Asean Dialogue Partnership to be held on Thursday.

Heads of state and government of all 10 Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean) regional bloc will be attending the Summit.

The Asean comprises Brunei, Cambodia, Indonesia, Laos, Malaysia, Myanmar, the Philippines, Singapore, Thailand, and Vietnam.  

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