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Vietnam and India agree to boost trade, defense cooperation

Indian President Ram Nath Kovind addresses Vietnamese National Assembly in Hanoi, Vietnam, Tuesday, Nov. 20, 2018. Kovind is on a three-day visit to Vietnam to boost trade, defense and security cooperation between the two countries. (Nguyen Phuong Hoa/ Vietnam News Agency via AP)

HANOI, Vietnam (AP) — Vietnam and India have agreed to boost their trade while expanding their cooperation in defense and security, among other areas.

Speaking to reporters at a joint press briefing in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, Indian President Ram Nath Kovind said Tuesday that he believes the bilateral trade volume will reach $15 billion by 2020, up from $12.8 billion last year.

“We agreed to encourage our industry to tap into the growing economic opportunities in our own countries and in the region,” Kovind said. “India-Vietnam economic relations are on an upswing.”

“We committed to further deepen our defense and security cooperation. I reiterated India’s commitment to provide training support for Vietnam’s armed forces,” he added.

Kovind said he and Vietnamese President Nguyen Phu Trong also reviewed the implementation of an Indian credit line of $100 million to build high-speed patrol vessels for Vietnam’s coast guard.

Trong, who is also head of the Communist Party, said the two countries will find ways to boost their modest investment.

Currently, India has 182 investment projects worth $816 million in Vietnam, while Vietnamese businesses have a mere seven projects worth some $6 million in India.

Kovind is on a three-day visit to Vietnam, where he is scheduled to meet with Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc later Tuesday before departing.

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