Indo Pacific CooperationApprox Read Time: 4 min
- The Prime Ministers of India and Vietnam took part in a virtual bilateral summit, and agreed to boost cooperation in the Indo –Pacific region.
- India and Vietnam, in the bilateral virtual summit, agreed to cooperation in the Indo-pacific region in the face of growing Chinese aggression in the region.
- While India is currently locked in a military standoff with China in the Ladakh sector of LAC, Vietnam is embroiled in an issue over the South China Sea dispute.
- A document titled ‘India- Vietnam Joint Vision for Peace, Prosperity and people’ was released after the summit.
- The vision document highlighted the importance of non- militarization and self restraint in conduct of claimants and all other states with respect to the South China Sea dispute.
- In this context, it also highlighted the need to uphold international laws like the 1982 UNCLOS (UN Convention on the Laws of the Sea).
- The vision document said that the two sides will set up military-to -military exchanges, training and capacity building programmes across the three services and coast guards.
- Both the sides also agreed on cooperation in combating all forms of terrorism and reiterated that peace, stability and prosperity in the region is a common goal of both sides.
Indian Prime Minister’s remarks:
- The Indian Prime Minister described Vietnam as an important partner in the India’s Indo-Pacific vision as well as for its Act East Policy.
- Act East Policy was launched in 2014 by Prime Minister Modi to enhance economic cooperation and cultural and strategic ties with countries of the Asia- Pacific region, especially through increased connectivity between them and the north eastern region of India.
- The Prime Minister invited Vietnamese countries to invest in India.
- He also called for a long overdue review of ASEAN – India Trade in Goods Agreement as a means to revitalize economic engagement between both countries as well as the whole ASEAN region.
- The Indian PM also said that the Code of Conduct (COC) negotiations on the South China Sea (SCS) should not be against the interests of other countries in the region.
- China and the 10 ASEAN countries have been holding talks for years to evolve a Code of Conduct on South China Sea.
- COC is a set of regional norms and rules in South China Sea (SCS) to avoid conflict in the disputed waters.
Seven MOU’s/Agreements signed:
- Seven agreements to expand bilateral ties in defence, nuclear energy, UN Peace Keeping Operations, the petroleum industry and other sectors were signed between the two countries.
- An agreement to supply 12 high speed patrol vessels to Vietnam, with India extending a $100 million defence line of credit to Vietnam was signed.
About: India-Vietnam bilateral relations
- Independent India had initially maintained Consulate level relations with the then North Vietnam and South Vietnam.
- In 1972, it established full diplomatic relations with the Unified Vietnam.
- In 2007, the relationship was elevated to ‘Strategic Partnership’ between the two countries.
- In 2016, it was elevated to ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’, which India shares with very few countries.
Economic and Trade Relations:
- Bilateral trade has increased from $200 million in 2000 to more than $12 billion in 2019-20.
- Vietnam is India‘s 18th largest trading partner and 4th largest trading partner within ASEAN.
- India is Vietnam’s 7th largest trading partner.
- Key imports from Vietnam include mobile phone, electronic components and natural rubber while key exports include meat, fisheries and pharmaceutical products.
- India’s investment in Vietnam is estimated about $2 billion, and is mainly in energy, mineral exploration, agro-processing etc.
- Vietnam has invested in six projects in India at US $ 28.55 million and is mostly in Pharmaceutical and information technology sector.
- India has also been taking Quick Impact Projects under the Mekong- Ganga Cooperation framework for development of community infrastructure in Vietnam.
- Grant-in-assistance aid in seven projects is also being provided by India for the development of Cham community in Vietnam.
- Vietnam has been a large recipient of training programmes under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.
- India and Vietnam share deep cultural and historical traditions which include the Buddhist traditions and the Cham Culture, which was influenced by Hinduism.
- The rich cultural exchange have led to many similarities in Ayurveda and the Vietnamese traditional system of medicine.
- To mark the 50th anniversary of Indo-Vietnamese diplomatic relations in 2022, a joint Encyclopedia on Cultural and Civilization relations between the two will be published.
- The year 2019 was celebrated as the India-ASEAN year of tourism.
- The Swami Vivekananda Indian Cultural Centre was established in Hanoi in 2016 for people to people and cultural exchange between the two countries.