With India moving to an Act East foreign policy, with focus on the Asean region, Vietnam an important and old ally is the partner country at this year's India International Trade Fair (IITF), Commerce Minister Suresh Prabhu said on Tuesday.
The 37th IITF, inaugurated here by President Ram Nath Kovind, has Vietnam as the partner country, the Kyrgyz Republic in Central Asia as the 'focus country' and Jharkhand as the partner state.
"With Prime Minister Narendra Modi upgrading Indian policy to Act East, instead of just Look East, Vietnam is our partner country this year at IITF," Prabhu said, noting that Modi is currently in the Philippines attending both the Asean and East Asia summits.
"Vietnam has been an important friend of India for a long time and we look forward to have a comprehensive partnership with our old ally, which has a tremendous record of fighting against global powers," he said.
Revealing that his Ministry is working on "country specific" plans to boost India's trade, the Commerce Minister said that Central Asian nations were also a major focus point and that he was leaving on Friday for an official visit to Russia.
"The CIS (Commonwealth of Independent States) is one of our best partners. With our age-old relationship with this region, we would like to go along with them to increase economic cooperation," he said.
"Overall, we would like to increase exports, but not discourage imports. India would like to develop regional partnerships and relationships, " he said, adding that the ongoing mid-term review of the National Trade Policy would be presented soon.
Inaugurating the IITF, President Kovind described it as the "annual event in our business as well as cultural calendar".
He noted that over 3,000 exhibitors are taking part this year, including 220 companies from overseas.
Partner state Jharkhand, which holds 40 per cent of the nation's mineral resources, had become an exemplar in ease of doing business, Kovind added.