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International Relations

India and Vietnam Relation

  • 18 Dec 2021
  • 9 min read

For Prelims: Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, Look East Policy, Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI), ASEAN, Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, UN Security Council, East Asia Summit, Mekong Ganga Cooperation, Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM).

For Mains: Significance of India and Vietnam relations and the common are of interest between two countries in recent times.

Why in News

Recently, India and Vietnam signed a letter of intent (LOI) to collaborate in the field of digital media, paving the way for further strengthening the partnership between the two countries.

  • A LOI is a document that declares the initial commitment of two parties as they enter into a business deal with each other. It outlines the chief terms of the prospective deal.
  • Earlier in 2020, Defence Ministers of India and Vietnam discussed collaboration in defence industry capability building, training and cooperation in United Nations (UN) peacekeeping operations, etc.

Key Points

  • Letter of Intent: It recognises the joint objectives of both the countries to facilitate cooperation in the field of Posts and Telecom.
    • Promote sharing of information and experience, cooperate to implement projects in Human Resource Development.
    • Promote enhanced cooperation of postal designated operators and service providers of both the countries.
    • It will shape bilateral cooperation in the field of new technologies and challenges, such as the ‘infodemic’, which all countries are grappling with during the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • Scope of Discussion: Vietnam appreciated the efforts of India for developing indigenous 5G network under “AtmaNirbhar Bharat”.
    • The Vietnamese Minister of Information and Communications suggested that India should collaborate in the field of 5G to produce world class India has been developing indigenously designed 5G telecom equipment.

India- Vietnam Relation

  • Background:
    • While defence cooperation has been one of the most significant pillars of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership initiated by the two countries in 2016, the relationship between the two countries was established much earlier.
    • India had established the Consul General’s office in Hanoi as early as 1956.
      • Vietnam established its diplomatic mission in 1972.
    • India had stood by Vietnam in opposing US intervention in that country at the cost of embittering Indo-US relations.
    • The relationship was further strengthened when India, in the early 1990s, initiated its “Look East Policy” with the specific objective of economic integration and political cooperation with Southeast Asia and East Asia.
  • Areas of Cooperation:
    • Strategic Partnership:
      • India and Vietnam agreed to strengthen their strategic partnership “in line with India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) and the ASEAN’s Outlook on Indo-Pacific to achieve shared security, prosperity and growth for all in the region.”
    • Economic Cooperation:
    • Trade relations:
      • During the Financial Year (FY) April 2020 – March 2021, bilateral trade between India and Vietnam reached USD 11.12 billion.
        • Indian exports to Vietnam amounting to USD 4.99 billion and Indian imports from Vietnam at USD 6.12 billion.
    • Defence Cooperation:
      • While Vietnam is interested in modernising its armed forces, India is interested in developing defence capabilities of its South-East Asian partners sufficiently to maintain peace in the strategic region.
      • Vietnam is interested in India’s Akash surface-to-air systems and Dhruv advanced light helicopters and Brahmos missiles.
      • Apart from this, the defence relations include capacity building, dealing with common security concerns, training of personnel, and cooperation in defence R&D.
      • Both countries reaffirmed the strong India-Vietnam Defence cooperation which is a key pillar of Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (2016).
        • This year completes five years of “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” between India and Vietnam, and the year 2022 will mark fifty years of diplomatic relations between the two countries
      • Indian Naval Ship INS Kiltan undertook a visit to Ho Chi Minh City to deliver flood relief materials for the people of Central Vietnam.
        • It also participated in the PASSEX Exercise with the Vietnam People’s Navy.
      • The China factor also weighs heavily in the respective strategic calculus of India and Vietnam.
        • Both countries had fought wars with China and both have border problems with that country. China aggressively continues to encroach in the territories of the two countries.
        • Hence, it is natural for both the countries to come closer with a view to restrain China from its aggressive actions.
    • Cooperation at Multiple Fora:
    • People-to-People Contacts:
      • The year 2019 was celebrated as the ASEAN-India Year of Tourism. Both countries have facilitated a simplified visa regime to promote bilateral tourism.
      • The Embassy of India organised various events to celebrate Mahatma@150 in 2018-19. These include Jaipur artificial limb fitment camps, which were organised in four provinces of Vietnam, benefitting 1000 people, under the ‘India for Humanity’ initiative of the Government of India.

Way Forward

  • In 2016, the first time in 15 years, an Indian Prime Minister visited Vietnam signalling India is no longer hesitant to expand its presence in China’s periphery.
  • India's foreign policy envisages India to play an anchor for peace, prosperity and stability in Asia and Africa, deepening ties with Vietnam will only strengthen this narrative.
  • As India and Vietnam geographically lie at the heart of the emerging Indo-Pacific construct, both would play a major role in this strategic space which is becoming a core theatre for competition for power and influence amongst the major powers.
  • The strategic partnership under the broad India-Vietnam cooperation framework would be critical towards building the vision laid out under India’s ‘Act East’ Policy, which looks to expand engagement that is mutually positive and which ensures inclusive growth for all in the region.
  • Strengthening ties with Vietnam will eventually lead a step towards the realisation of SAGAR (Security and Growth all in the region) initiative as hailed by the Indian PM.
  • India and Vietnam both can mutually benefit each other in the arena of Blue Economy and ocean security.

Source: PIB

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