Beginning yet another Asian sojourn Prime Minister Narendra Modi will now head off to attend the G-20 summit in Hangzhou, China, making a politically important stop at Vietnam en route. Modi will also meet Chinese President Xi Jinping on the margins of G-20, months after their meeting in Tashkent before the NSG plenary in Seoul.
Modi will soon leave after meeting Egypt’s President, Gen Abdul Fattah el-Sisi, who is on his first state visit to India and who is also on his way to the G-20. MEA secretary, Sujata Mehta, said India would use this ‘leaders-only’ forum to focus on measures to check terror financing and crack down on tax evasion and reduce Indian professionals’ tax liabilities overseas.
But the PM’s Vietnam visit, where energy, defence and a strategic partnership will get top billing, will be closely watched in Beijing and beyond. India is expected to give four patrol boats to Vietnam, a transfer holding significance in the context of Vietnam’s claims against China in South China Sea.
In Vietnam, the PM will hold a bilateral meetings with the Vietnamese leadership on Saturday. PM Modi’s visit will be the first prime ministerial visit to the Southeast Asian country in 15 years. Former PM Atal Bihari Vajpayee visited the country in 2001.
After the meeting, Modi will head for Hangzhou, China, where he will attend this year’s G-20 Summit being held on September 4-5.
In this one of his hectic diplomatic tour, he will return to India on September 5 from Hangzhou.
After two days, Modi will leave for Vientiane, Laos, where he will attend the 14th India-Asean Summit and the 11th East Asia Summit being held on September 7 and 8.
In an interaction with media-persons on Thursday in New Delhi, Preeti Saran, Secretary (East) in the External Affairs Ministry, said that Vietnam is the country coordinator for India with the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (Asean).
The Prime Minister will meet with the top Vietnamese leadership, including General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Nguyen Phu Trong, President Tran Dai Quang, Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Chairman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.
Vietnam is the central pillar Of India’s Act East Policy, Saran said.”Our priorities in cooperation range in a whole host of areas, including defence and security, trade and investment, in maritime cooperation, in energy resources, integrating ourselves to the Asean community and for leveraging our interactions in regional and international forums,” she said.
Saran added that Vietnam supported India’s membership in an expanded UN Security Council.