Minister of State for External Affairs V K Singh said there is scope for Vietnam and India to deepen cooperation in the oil and gas sector despite "all the troubles" the Southeast Asian country faces.
Singh said, there was also great potential to improve cooperation in the healthcare and the pharmaceutical sectors, especially in the wake of the government's implementation of the Ayushman Bharat scheme, or the National Health Protection Mission.
"There is a scope for oil and gas despite all the troubles that Vietnam faces in East Vietnam Sea if I can put it that way. There is scope out there for India...we are already there, there are certain problem areas.
"I am sure those problem areas will get sorted out and Vietnam can reap the benefits of the kind of deposits it has," Singh said, in an oblique reference to Vietnam's disputes with China in the South China Sea.
Vietnam is one of the claimants to the South China Sea, a disputed region that has been witnessing increased Chinese military presence.
Other than Taiwan, China, Vietnam, the Philippines, Malaysia, and Brunei also have overlapping territorial claims in the sea, known to be rich in hydrocarbons.
Oil and gas exploration has been a key area of cooperation between Vietnam and India with Indian companies making a significant investment in Oil and Gas in Vietnam.
China has been opposing India's Oil and Natural Gas Corporation (ONGC) exploring oil in areas claimed by Vietnam in the South China Sea. India has asserted that ONGC's exploration is a commercial operation and not connected with the dispute. Oil exploration in the South China Sea is a sensitive issue in Vietnam-China relations.
Singh also advised for enhanced cooperation between the two countries in sectors such as renewable energy, agriculture, textiles, leather, and minerals processing among others.
Addressing the gathering, Vietnam's Ambassador to India Ton Sinh Thanh pitched for strengthening India-Vietnam economic ties and boosting cooperation in various sectors.