India – Vietnam Relations
TOPIC: General studies 2
- Bilateral, regional and global groupings and agreements involving India and/or affecting India’s interests
- Effect of policies and politics of developed and developing countries on India’s interests
In News: Because of the recent visit of Vice President of India M. Venkaiah Naidu
The relations between India and Vietnam have been exceptionally friendly, and virtually free of any dissonance or friction. The ties go back to the ancient Cham civilization when people from Orissa travelled to Vietnam and found a hospitable home there, mingling cultures, customs, language and beliefs. Built on robust foundations laid down by India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Vietnam’s iconic leader Ho Chi Minh, the ties have grown exponentially over the years.
Pandit Nehru travelled to Vietnam in 1954 to celebrate Vietnam’s victory in the famous Dien Bien Phu battle against the French forces. This was followed by Ho Chi Minh’s visit to India in 1958. President Rajendra Prasad visited Vietnam in 1959. The sense of the shared anti-colonial impulse and solidarity that shaped bilateral ties in post-independence years has now morphed into a multi-pronged strategic partnership, with the focus on development cooperation, sharing experiences in nation-building, expanding trade and investment and enhancing defence ties.
- In recent times, political contacts have strengthened as reflected in several high-level visits by leaders from both sides.
- India’s thrust under the ‘Act East’ policy combined with Vietnam’s growing engagement within the region and with India has paid rich dividends.
- India and Vietnam closely cooperate in various regional forums such as ASEAN, East Asia Summit, Mekong Ganga Cooperation, Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) besides UN and WTO.
- Vietnam is critical for India’s foreign policy at the regional and systemic levels. There is a need to understand how Vietnam has calibrated its domestic and foreign policy shifts and where India’s relevance can fit into these policy changes.
The Recent Visit
India and Vietnam expressed commitment to
- Enhance trade and investments
- Facilitate direct air connectivity to promote tourism, trade and relations
- Further strengthen cooperation in defence and security, peaceful uses of atomic energy and outer space, oil and gas and renewable energy
Both sides reiterated the importance of building a peaceful and prosperous Indo-Pacific region on the basis of respect for national sovereignty and international law, and expressed full commitment to an open, transparent, inclusive and rules-based regional architecture based on freedom of navigation and overflight, unimpeded economic activities and peaceful settlement of disputes in accordance with international law, the statement said.
Vietnam’s leaders appreciated India’s long-standing development partnership engagement, especially scholarships and training programmes. They also thanked India for extending concessional Lines of Credit for defence industry cooperation and implementing other socio-cultural infrastructure projects in Vietnam under Indian grants-in-aid.
The Way Ahead
Blending IT, education, Buddhism and strategy in its intricate tapestry, the relations between India and Vietnam have effortlessly blended the ancient and the modern to forge a robust contemporary partnership. In the days to come, the only way for the Delhi-Hanoi relationship is to go up, opening new vistas and opportunities for a mutually invigorating and empowering partnership.
- Vesak, also known as Buddha Jayanti, is traditionally observed by Buddhists as ‘Buddha’s Birthday’.
- Vietnam is an important trade partner of India and their bilateral trade stood at nearly USD 14 billion last year having nearly doubled from USD 7.8 billion three years ago.
Connecting the dots:
- India and Vietnam have a potential to upgrade their relationship to more strategic partnership owing to ‘ever-looming neighbour threat’. In that context, examine the importance of India-Vietnam relations.
- Vietnam is crucial to India’s Look East Policy. Critically comment.