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India-Vietnam Virtual Summit

  • 22 Dec 2020
  • 9 min read

Why in News

Recently, India and Vietnam signed seven pacts during their virtual summit, in areas such as defence, petrochemicals, and nuclear energy, and agreed to intensify their development partnership that will enable achievement of Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and develop capabilities to address climate change.

Key Points

  • Memorandums of Understanding (MoU)/Agreements:
    • Agreements covered diverse areas such as IT, UN peacekeeping and cancer research.
    • One specific agreement will cover USD 5 million Indian Grant Assistance for Army Software Park at National Telecommunications University, Nha Trang, Vietnam.
    • Both sides committed to promote bilateral cooperation between the “regulatory bodies of the two countries in the fields of radiation protection and nuclear safety.”
  • Defence and Security:
    • Defence and security partnership between India and Vietnam will be an important factor of stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
    • The two sides will step up their military-to-military exchanges, training and capacity building programmes across the three services and coast guards and will intensify their defence industry collaboration building on India’s defence credit lines extended to Vietnam.
      • VINBAX is the military exercise between armies of India and Vietnam.
    • Both sides will engage more closely through institutionalized dialogue mechanisms in dealing with traditional and non-traditional security threats in cyber and maritime domains, terrorism, natural disasters, health security, water security, transnational crimes etc, including through enhanced legal and judicial cooperation, where required.
      • One such example is the successful implementation of the High Speed Guard Boat (HSGB) Manufacturing Project for Vietnam Border Guard Command under the US dollar 100 million Defence Line of Credit extended by the Government of India to Vietnam.
  • Terrorism:
  • South China Sea:
  • Cooperation at Various Forums:
    • Both sides will strengthen multilateral and regional cooperation, including in the United Nations, ASEAN-led mechanisms and Mekong sub-regional cooperation.
    • Association of SouthEast Asian Nations (ASEAN):
      • To foster practical cooperation between ASEAN and India in the key areas and in line with the objectives and principles as stated in the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI).
    • The two sides will actively promote reformed multilateralism to make international organizations, including the UN Security Council, more representative, contemporary and capable of dealing with current challenges.
  • Management of Covid-19 Pandemic:
    • They will encourage experience-sharing and cooperation in the management of Covid-19 pandemic, support on-line training of health professionals, forge institutional cooperation in vaccine development, promote open supply chains, facilitate essential cross-border movement of people, and maintain close contact and coordination in multilateral bodies like the World Health Organization.
    • Cooperation in the Post Pandemic Era:
      • Acknowledging the new challenges as well as opportunities brought upon by Covid-19 pandemic, the two sides will work towards reliable, efficient and resilient supply chains, and will promote human-centric globalization.
  • Economic Cooperation:
    • New horizons for partnership created by India’s goal to become a US dollar 5 trillion economy by 2024 and Vietnam’s ambition to become a high-income economy by 2045 will be fully explored for all segments of economy, including blue economy, MSMEs and farming communities of the two countries.
    • India and Vietnam share a comprehensive strategic partnership. One great example of economic cooperation is completion of the Development Projects with Indian ‘Grant-in-Aid’ Assistance of US dollar 1.5 million for the benefit of the local community in Vietnam’s Ninh Thuan province.
  • Cooperation on Climate Change:
  • Cultural Cooperation and Links:
    • Both sides will actively cooperate to publish an Encyclopedia of India - Vietnam Cultural and Civilizational Relations to mark the 50th anniversary of India - Vietnam diplomatic relations in 2022.
    • The two sides will promote understanding and research of their shared cultural and civilizational heritage, including Buddhist and Cham cultures, traditions and ancient scriptures.
      • The traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda and Vietnam-Traditional Medicine share many common threads of rich knowledge of health.
      • Yoga has emerged as a symbol of peace and harmony and shared pursuit of spiritual wellbeing and happiness.
    • New Development Partnership projects in heritage conservation in Vietnam (F-block of Temple at My Son; Dong Duong Buddhist Monastery in Quang Nam and Nhan Cham Tower in Phu Yen) will be materialised.
  • People-to-People Exchange:
    • By increasing direct flights, providing ease of travelling through simplified visa procedures and facilitating tourism.
  • Education and Institutional Cooperation:
    • They will further strengthen and institutionalize linkages such as Parliamentary exchanges; relations between Indian States and Vietnamese Provinces; exchanges between social organisations and youth organizations; collaboration between educational institutions; engagement between think tanks; joint research programmes; and exchanges in media, film, TV shows and sports.
    • They will also facilitate cooperation between respective agencies on the two sides to promote contents related to India - Vietnam relations and their historical links in each other’s school textbooks.

Way Forward

  • Vietnam is a key pillar of India’s Act East policy and there is a scope for further cooperation between the countries.
  • The close relationship between the two countries is significant for the maintenance of strategic balance in South East Asia which is witnessing aggressive Chinese activities.
  • Both Countries need to leverage the economic opportunities available because of anti-China sentiments and several manufacturing firms deciding to shift from China.
  • Keeping in mind the strategic challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, primarily those posed by China, India and Vietnam should work in close coordination at multilateral institutions such as the UN Security Council, where both India and Vietnam are elected to be non-permanent members in 2021.


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