President of India, Ram Nath Kovind will pay a State Visit to Vietnam and Australia from November 18-24, 2018. He will be accompanied by Anant Kumar Hegde, Minister of State for Skill Development and Entrepreneurship, two Members of Parliament Kamakhya Prasad Tasa, Dr. Heena Vijaykumar Gavit and other officials.
On the first leg of his two-nation tour, he will visit Vietnam from 18-20 November 2018 on the invitation of Nguyen Phu Trong, President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. There will be a ceremonial reception for he at the Presidential Palace in Hanoi. He would also lay wreaths at the Monument of National Heroes and Martyrs and at the Ho Chi Minh Mausoleum. President will have a restricted meeting and delegation level talks with President Trong, who will also host a banquet in honour of Prsident of India Prime Minister Phuc and Chairperson of the National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan will have meetings with Indian President. As part of his programme, President will address the National Assembly of Vietnam.
In Hanoi, President will address the Indian community and the Vietnam-India Business Forum. India and Vietnam have robust trade and economic relations with bilateral trade of US$ 12.8 billion in 2017-18.
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The visit of Indian President will commence in Da Nang, which has rich historical and civilizational connection with India. Da Nang is famous for its world heritage site of My Son; and has remnants of Buddhist connections and the Hindu Cham civilization in the form of Ancient Temples. Archaeological Survey of India is helping Vietnam in the preservation and conservation of some of the temples.
On the second leg of his visit, Indian President, at the invitation of Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove, will pay a State Visit to Australia from 21-24 November 2018. In Australia, Indian Presidentwill be visiting Sydney and Melbourne. There will be a ceremonial welcome for Rashtrapatiji in Sydney. It will be followed by talks with Governor General Sir Peter Cosgrove, who will also host a banquet in the honour of Indian President. Prime Minister Scott Morrison will also have a meeting with Indian President.
Australia has a vibrant and large Indian diaspora. In Sydney, President will address the Indian community. As part of the ongoing 150th Birth Anniversary celebrations of Mahatma Gandhi, President Kovind along with Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison will unveil the statue of Mahatma Gandhi in Paramatta in New South Wales.
Economic relations between the two countries are growing. The bilateral trade stands at US$ 19.7 billion and there are many sectors in which the two countries can intensify their economic cooperation. As part of his economic engagement, President will address the Australian Financial Review Business Event on India-Australia economic engagement and will also grace the Annual Dinner of the Australia-India Business Council (AIBC).
In Melbourne, President will be meeting Governor of Victoria Linda Dessau, who will be hosting a banquet lunch in honour of President and will also address the students at University of Melbourne. Australia has a large Indian student population of 70,000.
The President’s visit is part of India’s continuing and growing engagement with countries in the Indo-Pacific region under its “Act East” Policy. Vietnam is a comprehensive strategic partner and both countries have deep civilizational linkages. This will be first visit of President to an ASEAN country since assuming office and first interaction between the leadership of India since the election of Vietnamese President Trong in October 2018. Australia is a strategic partner. This would be first ever visit of the President of India to Australia.