India – Vietnam Relations

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    In News

    • India and Vietnam sign Letter of Intent to establish partnership in Digital Media paving the way for strengthening partnership between India and Vietnam.

    About 

    • Letter of Intent:
      • The LoI envisages sharing of information and experience in establishing policies and regulatory frameworks on digital media and social networks, and conducting capacity building and training programs for media professionals and officials in the two countries.
    • On 5G Technology:
      • 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 and Vietnam Relations

    • Cultural links: 
      • Cultural and economic links between India and Vietnam date back to the 2nd century.
      • The Indic Ch?m Pa kingdom had some influence on Vietnamese music. 
      • The Swami Vivekananda Indian Cultural Centre was established in Hanoi in September 2016. It was formally inaugurated on 20 April 2017. 
    • Contemporary: 
      • In the contemporary era, relations between India and Vietnam have been governed by several areas of shared political interests.
      • India strongly condemned U.S. action during the Vietnam War and was also one of the few non-communist countries to assist Vietnam during the Cambodian–Vietnamese War.
    • Economic ties: 
      • In 1992, India and Vietnam established extensive economic ties, including oil exploration, agriculture and manufacturing. 
      • India is now the 8 th largest trading partner of Vietnam. 
      • On the other hand, Vietnam is the 4th largest trading partner of India among ASEAN countries after Indonesia, Singapore and Malaysia. 
      • Vietnam is the 8th largest destination of India’s exports globally. 
      • Vietnam is also the second largest export destination for India after Singapore in the ASEAN region.
      • Bilateral trade between India and Vietnam measured $11.12 billion in 2020–21, declining by 22.47% from the previous fiscal largely due to disruptions caused by the COVID-19 pandemic.
    • Defence ties: 
      • The relations between the two countries, especially defence ties, benefited extensively from India’s Look East policy.
      • Bilateral military cooperation includes sale of military equipment, sharing of intelligence, joint naval exercises and training in counterinsurgency and jungle warfare.
      • India also regularly deploys its warships for goodwill visits to Vietnamese seas.
    • Strategic partnership: 
      • Bilateral relations were upgraded to a “Strategic Partnership” during Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to India in July 2007, and upgraded to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership” during Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Vietnam in September 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.
      • Cooperation in the UN Security Council has been exemplary. The shared respect for international law, including UNCLOS 1982, and a rules-based order is a strong commonality. It is this larger vision of how we wish to see the world evolve that really brings us together. Both societies are fiercely independent and deeply committed to maintaining their freedom of choices. These traits make both the foundation of a multipolar Asia in the coming years.
    • Deepening of relationship: 
      • The deep relationship between India and Vietnam was further strengthened with the recent visits of the Hon’ble President and Hon’ble Prime Minister of India to Vietnam, 
      • Recent meetings would shape the 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. 
      • Digital Media Ethics Code has been implemented by the Government since February 2021.
    • Tourism: 
      • Around 169,000 Indians visited Vietnam and over 31,000 Vietnamese visited India in 2019, recording a growth of 28% and 32% over 2018 respectively. 
      • India is a favored spiritual destination for many Vietnamese because it is home to many famous Buddhist temples, including the Mahabodhi Temple in Bodh Gaya where the Buddha is said to have attained enlightenment.
    • Indians in Vietnam:
      • There were an estimated 5,500 Indians residing in Vietnam as of June 2021. 
      • Most of the community lives in Ho Chi Minh City. Some Indians hold senior positions in multinational companies and international organisations based in Vietnam.
      • The Indian Business Chamber (INCHAM) is an organization recognized by the Government of Vietnam that represents the Indian community and promotes Indian business interests in Vietnam.
    • Information sharing:
      • Recent talks also revolved around enabling the journalists of both the countries to access information about the socio-economic developments in each other’s nations for wider dissemination of success stories and stronger people-to-people ties.
    • China factor:
      • Both countries 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.

    Way Ahead

    • Indo Pacific Region:
      • 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 U.N. Security Council, where both India and Vietnam are elected to be non-permanent members in 2021.
    • Geographical benefit:
      • 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.
    • Financing projects:
      • While India has taken several steps to promote economic integration with the CLMV countries (Cambodia, Laos, Myanmar and Vietnam) through projects such as the India–CLMV Business Conclave and the Mekong–Ganga Cooperation Initiative, overall economic ties remain weak. 
      • This is mainly due to the underutilisation of lines of credit and the lack of physical connectivity. 
      • To better compete with China, India needs to rethink its economic policy towards Vietnam, as well as mainland Southeast Asia.
    • Aid diversification:
      • India should also work with Vietnam to promote diversification of aid in mainland Southeast Asia. 
      • Vietnam is not only a close strategic partner of India but also a proactive middle-sized state in ASEAN. 
      • Vietnam plays a critical role in facilitating mainland Southeast Asia’s socio-economic progress through ASEAN platforms and the Cambodia–Laos–Vietnam Development Triangle Area. 
      • Hanoi is also keen on enmeshing extra-regional players in the Mekong region to foster regional growth and economic diversification. 
      • For these reasons, Vietnam can act as an important bridge-builder between India and CLMV countries in the area of connectivity and economic cooperation.

    Source: PIB