India, Vietnam to face China

New Delhi, Jan 8, 2013- (IANS) Amid Hanoi's friction with Beijing over competing claims in the South China Sea, India and Vietnam will hold wide-ranging talks Wednesday that seek to bolster their strategic, developmental and cultural cooperation.

External Affairs Minister Salman Khurshid will call on visiting Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister Vu Van Ninh and discuss a host of bilateral and regional issues, including expanding trade ties and enhanced diplomatic consultations on regional issues.
The two countries will also discuss enhanced developmental cooperation in areas of capacity building and human resource development.

The visit of the Vietnamese deputy prime minister is part of a slew of activities to celebrate four decades of the establishment of diplomatic ties and six years of signing of the Vietnam-India strategic partnership.

The visit takes place at a time when Vietnam is looking to step up ties with India in the wake of the increased Chinese assertiveness in the South China Sea, parts of which are claimed by five countries, including Vietnam. China claims full sovereignty over the entire South China Sea.

During his visit to India for the India-ASEAN commemorative summit, Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung urged India to play a role in resolving the dispute in the South China Sea by peaceful means.

Besides Khurshid, Vu Van Ninh will also meet Vice President Hamid Ansari, Finance Minister P. Chidambaram and Deputy Chairman of the Planning Commission Montek Singh Ahluwalia.

A cultural performance of Vietnam's music, dance and song theatre will also be held to mark the Days of Vietnam Culture in India.