Prime Minister Narendra Modi was accorded a ceremonial welcome in front of the majestic Presidential palace in Hanoi on Saturday morning.
Modi, the first Indian prime minister to visit the communist nation in 15 years, was welcomed by Vietnamese president Tran Dai Quant.
After national anthems of both India and Vietnam were played by the armed forces band, dressed in sharp white with gold tassels and black gum boots, the prime minister inspected a guard of honour by the three armed forces of the host country.
Immediately afterwards Modi, in white churidar kurta with grey jacket, was taken to the humble traditional stilt house near the palace where Vietnam’s beloved leader Ho Chi Minh lived intermittently between 1958-1969. He was shown the place by the Vietnamese president.
Later held talks with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc. More updates on talks waited.
Earlier in the day, Prime Minister Modi paid homage at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum and the Monument of National Heroes and Martyrs in Hanoi, Vietnam.
PM Modi is on his maiden visit to the Vietnamese capital to hold wide-ranging talks with the country’s top leadership on ways to bolster strategic bilateral ties in key areas like defence, security, counterterrorism and trade.
“Reached Hanoi. This is a special visit & will go a long way in deepening the strong bond between India & Vietnam,” Modi tweeted on September 2.
The visit, that marks the first by an Indian premier to the country in 15 years, takes place on his way to Hangzhou, China to attend the G20 Summit beginning Sunday.
Modi will hold extensive talks with Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and call on President Tran Dai Quang.
He is also scheduled to meet Communist Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong and National Assembly Chairwoman Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan.
Defence, security, science and technology, trade and culture are some of the issues on the plate for the talks.
“Vietnamese Prime Minister Phuc and I would also be discussing regional cooperation and stability and our multilateral cooperation,” Modi told Voice of Vietnam Radio network earlier.
The thrust of our multifaceted relationship is to work towards stability, maintenance of peace, economic growth and prosperity in our countries, Asia and beyond, he added.
Modi emphasised that India’s Act East Policy aimed to forge partnerships with its eastern neighbours to encompass security, strategic, political, counter-terrorism, and defence collaboration in addition to economic ties.
“It was crystallised to underscore the importance of East Asian neighbours of India and to make them a priority in our foreign policy engagement,” he told the radio, adding that Vietnam was an integral member of ASEAN and is a “very important pillar in our Act East Policy”.
“We wish to forge a strong economic relationship with Vietnam that can mutually benefit our citizens.
Strengthening the people to people ties will also be my endeavour during the Vietnam visit,” the premier said on his Facebook page on September 2.
India’s ONGC Videsh Limited is engaged in oil exploration projects in Vietnam for over three decades and there may be announcements about new projects in the sector during the bilateral visit, which is taking place after a gap of 15 years.