India has to continue negotiating with Pakistan and from a position of dignity, said Vice-President Hamid Ansari. He was talking to the media on board the special aircraft taking him to Hanoi, Vietnam, on a ceremonial visit.

“The definition of diplomacy is to continue negotiating at all times under all conditions. So there is work for diplomats to do. Neighbours can’t be wished away; they are a fact of life. So we have to continue talking… from a position of dignity and rectitude,” he said in answer to a question on whether there was a need to review the country’s relationship with Pakistan in light of the killing and mutilation of two Indian soldiers last week.

Mr. Ansari is visiting Hanoi to conclude the yearlong celebrations commemorating the completion of 40 years of friendship between the two countries. He underlined the importance of Vietnam in India’s “Look East” policy especially because it was an important member of the Association of South-east Asian Nations (ASEAN).

Conceding that trade and investment between the two countries was not high, he said this was a target area both in the bilateral context and also in the ASEAN-India context. Bilateral trade is now around $4 billion and India aims to take it to $7 billion by 2015.

On Tuesday, Mr. Ansari will be meeting Vietnamese President Truong Tan Sang, Vice President Nguyen Thi Doan and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung. He will also be participating in the closing ceremony of the Commemoration of India Vietnam Friendship Year 2012.

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