President leaves for Vietnam, Indonesia


New Delhi : President Pratibha Patil Monday left on a 10-day visit to Vietnam and Indonesia that is set to bolster India’s ‘Look East’ policy revolving around enhanced economic and strategic engagement with the region.

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Patil’s first stop is Ho Chi Minh City where she will meet her Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Minh Triet and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung and hold talks with them on a wide range of bilateral, regional and global issues.

During her four-day trip to Vietnam, Patil also goes to Hanoi where she is expected to address a business meeting being organised by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industries (Ficci) and the Vietnam Chambers of Commerce.

Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in the 10-nation Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), of which Indonesia is also a part. Bilateral trade is rapidly growing and is said to have exceeded $1.5 billion.

Information Technology has become a major area of cooperation between the two countries. Top IT majors like NIIT, APTECH and Tata Infotech have opened over 50 franchised IT training centres in Vietnam. Satyam computers and Wipro are also eyeing investment opportunities in Vietnam.

After wrapping up her visit to Vietnam, Patil heads to Indonesia, the birth place of the Non-Aligned Movement. Patil returns the visit by her counterpart Susilo Bambang Yudhoyono who came to India three years ago.

Patil will hold talks with Yudhoyono on a wide range of bilateral and regional issues, including ways to invigorate bilateral trade and strategic cooperation, and maritime security between the two countries.

“This visit essentially reaffirms India’s commitment to enhance our engagement with these countries, our close friends within the ASEAN fraternity,” said Secretary (East) in the ministry of external affairs, N. Ravi, who is accompanying the president.

“It is part of our ‘Look East’ policy initiative,” he stressed.