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Vietnam president arrives for first India visit

Amid tensions with Beijing over joint oil exploration in the South China Sea, Hanoi and New Delhi aim to reaffirm ties

Vietnam President Truong Tan Sang arrived in New Delhi Monday on his first visit to India, amid tensions with Beijing surrounding an India-Vietnam oil exploration project in the disputed South China Sea.

Local media reported that the visit is intended to help deepen Hanoi's strategic and defence ties with New Delhi.

Karnataka Governor H R Bhardwaj is slated to host a lunch for Sang at Raj Bhavan, after which he is scheduled to visit the headquarters of Infosys, and then head for New Delhi Monday afternoon.

Before leaving Hanoi, Sang said, "This visit takes place in the context that the time-honoured traditional friendship and strategic partnership between Vietnam and India are witnessing strong growth in all areas for the sake of peace, stability, cooperation and development".

In September, S.M. Krishna, India's foreign affairs minister, visited Vietnam after Beijing warned that joint oil exploration projects between India's state-owned oil company and Vietnam in the South China Sea were a violation of Chinese sovereignty.  India maintained that the projects were well within Vietnam's territory and vowed to press on with the project.

China is embroiled in territorial disputes with not only Vietnam, but also the Philippines, Taiwan, Malaysia and Brunei in the South China Sea. 

India's involvement in the issue is complicated by the Chinese perception that Washington seeks to use India's navy as a counterbalance to China's rising power in the region.

http://www.globalpost.com/dispatches/globalpost-blogs/the-rice-bowl/vietnam-president-arrives-first-india-visit