India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership – All India Radio (AIR) IAS UPSC

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  • March 4, 2021
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Search 21st December, 2020 Spotlight News Analysis here 

TOPIC: General Studies 2

  • India and Vietnam 

In News: India and Vietnam held a virtual summit between Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc. India and Vietnam have held a number of meetings and consultations this year leading up to the summit.

PM Modi, during his remarks at the summit, lauded Vietnam’s important role in India’s Act East Policy and as an “important partner of our Indo-Pacific Vision.” He highlighted the “long-term and strategic view” of the India-Vietnam relationship and the breadth and depth of their bilateral ties. He also underlined the importance of their shared purpose of “peace, stability and prosperity” for the Indo-Pacific region.

Key takeaways 

  • A ‘Joint Vision for Peace, Prosperity and People’ document was adopted during the Summit. The document is meant to drive the future of the India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, based on their “deep-rooted historical and cultural bonds, shared values and interests, and mutual strategic trust and understanding between the two countries.
  • Both leaders also welcomed the signing of a Plan of Action for period 2021-2023 for further implementation of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership in order to strengthen their bilateral partnership with a clear agenda for the next two years, as well as seven other agreements that cover a number of important areas of cooperation including defense, nuclear safety and radiation protection, petro-chemicals, clean energy, and U.N. peacekeeping.

The fact that India and Vietnam have been at the receiving end of the China’s aggressive behavior in the South China Sea and on the Line of Actual Control (LAC) has made the partnership even stronger. Given China’s aggressive behavior in South China Sea, which has remained a significant challenge for Vietnam, the joint vision document devoted attention to it. The very first paragraph of their “joint vision” highlighted a “shared commitment to international law” and agreement to “work towards achieving a peaceful, stable, secure, free, open, inclusive and rules-based region.”

Announcements made:

  • Implementation of the High Speed Guard Boat (HSGB) Manufacturing Project for Vietnam Border Guard Command under the US$ 100 million Defence Line of Credit extended by Government of India to Vietnam. The project would involve also handing over of one completed HSGB to Vietnam; launch of two HSGBs manufactured in India; and keel-laying of seven HSGBs to be manufactured in Vietnam.
  • Completion and handing over of seven Development Projects with Indian ‘Grant-in-Aid’ Assistance of US$ 1.5 million for the benefit of local community in Vietnam’s Ninh Thuan province.
  • Enhancing the number of annual Quick Impact Projects (QIPs) from currently five to ten commencing FY 2021-2022.
  • Three new Development Partnership projects in heritage conservation in Vietnam (F-block of Temple at My Son; Dong Duong Buddhist Monastery in Quang Nam province; and Nhan Cham Tower in Phu Yen province).
  • Launch of bilateral project for preparing an Encyclopedia on India – Vietnam Civilizational and Cultural Relations.

The joint vision document from the summit also recognized the importance of enhanced bilateral defense partnership in the context of the changing geopolitical and geoeconomic environment in the region and beyond. The document highlighted how a strengthened defense and security collaboration between India and Vietnam could be “an important factor of stability in the Indo-Pacific region.” To this end, the two sides agreed to augment military-to-military exchanges, training, and capacity building engagements between the two militaries including the coast guard.

More importantly, the two countries also decided to formalize their partnership by further institutionalizing defense exchanges through a number of programs including mutual logistics support, regular ship visits, joint exercises, and exchanges in military science and technology. The document also identified the decision to work through institutionalized dialogue structures in dealing with traditional and non-traditional security threats in some of the technology domains such as outer space and cyber space as well as a range of threats such as health security, natural disasters, terrorism, and transnational crimes through strengthened legal cooperation.  

In addition to defense industry collaboration, the two sides concluded an “Implementing Arrangement for cooperation in the field of Hydrography between National Hydrographic Office, India and Vietnam Hydrographic Office”. The sharing of hydrographic data will help in developing navigational charts by both countries. The two countries also agreed to produce an institutionalized framework agreement for industry collaboration soon. India also agreed to step up the scope and level of training extended to Vietnam military personnel in the Indian defense training institutions.

While there has been historically strong strategic affinity between India and Vietnam, these bonds have become stronger, driven by the strategic necessity of dealing with an aggressive China that has been questioning the sovereignty and territorial integrity of both countries.    

Connecting the Dots:

  1. Vietnam is an important pillar of India’s Act East policy. Discuss.

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