India-Vietnam harnessing strategic regional cooperation


India-Vietnam harnessing strategic regional cooperation

India and Vietnam are witnessing deepening ties in recent times. On 10 February 2020, officers from the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) and the Indian Armed Forces gathered for an activity in Vietnam’s capital, Hanoi, for an activity aimed at strengthening friendly ties between the two nations.

The motive of this event was to enhance a mutual understanding and trust among the armies, which would help in strengthening the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between India and Vietnam and pave way for further engagements in the Indo-Pacific.

Another motive of the event was to actively promote the Joint Vision Statement between India and Vietnam for defense cooperation (2015-2020) and work on the agreements which were reached on by the respective defense ministers for collaborations among young officers.

The countries aimed to enhance experience-sharing in the armed forces, exchange military art, devise policies for soldiers and martyrs, and engage in UN Peacekeeping.

India expressed its determination to maintain and promote cooperation between the countries, their armed forces and their young officers. India also pledged that the young Indian officers would support education and training to raise the capacity of the VPA in various fields.

Vietnamese Vice President Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh met the Indian Vice President Venkaiah Naidu on 12 February 2020 and emphasized on the importance of the long-standing friendship between the two countries.

They also spoke about bilateral relations and maintaining regular exchanges in the political, defense, economic and security sectors.

India and Vietnam have built a firm foundation of diplomatic ties on close cultural, historical and civilizational links, which are also marked by mutual trust and understanding.

In the economic and trade ties, India and Vietnam have agreed to work on a two-way trade target of USD 15 billion in 2020.

They further deliberated on the specific measures to be taken in bilateral trade cooperation and assigned relevant ministries and departments to remove the technical problems being faced both sides.

New Delhi and Hanoi aimed to launch a direct air route between the two capitals to facilitate trade activities and tourism. They aimed to strengthen the coordination with one another within regional and international forums, and promote peace and stability in the East Sea while emphasizing upon international law, including the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Vice President Thinh also thanked the Indian Government for supporting Vietnam in the past years, especially when Vietnam assumed the position of the ASEAN Chair in 2020 and a non-permanent member of the UNSC for the year 2020-2021.

India and Vietnam have a major partnership potential in the field of commodity trade. They can exchange the commodities that are the strengths of their respective markets, and this would help the comprehensive strategic partnership and their large purchasing powers.

The Deputy Ministers of Industry and Trade of both countries aimed at discussing strategies on how to bolster bilateral trade through a working session.

A roundtable meeting was also held between the Vietnamese Minister Dung and many Indian businesses like Essar, HCL and Mahindra, on the invitation of the National Institution for Transforming India (NITI Aayog).

There was another working session with leaders of the Ministry of Commerce and Industry, Confederation of Indian Industry (CII), and individuals from Indian tech giants like Nasscom and Wipro.

All these meetings aimed to increase the trade outputs and overall investments in the two-way trade policy between India and Vietnam, which would ultimately help in skill development and job creation of the citizens.

Vietnam is a hub of high-quality and competitive products like agro-fishery, specializing in basa fish and fresh fruits like dragon fruit, lychee, longan and rambutan, which paved the way for business opportunities with Indian businesses and consumers.

They have been facing difficulties in exporting these products because of the outbreak of the COVID-19. Vietnam has developed a garment-textile industry and has asked India for assistance in this field in the wake of COVID-19, as China has suspended its manufacturing operations.
Vietnam has been facing severe issues because of the closing down of factories in China, which has halted the supply chains for the country.

This is a major jolt to the economy of Vietnam. Therefore, India is now being preferred by Japan and South Korea as their new manufacturing hub, the country should also be able to garner support from Vietnam and help its industries.

If Vietnam wants, it can also prefer India as a destination for its manufacturing investments, which would in-turn boost their two-way trade process in the post-COVID-19 times.

There is also a potential for both the countries to work towards building low-cost goods, healthcare, artificial intelligence, agricultural food processing, and combined research in Science and Technology.

India has agreed to boost bilateral trade with Vietnam and has also agreed to work to promote trade activities and business exchanges especially in the year 2020, as it marks the 48th anniversary of their diplomatic ties.

Vietnam, as the ASEAN Chair, hosted the Special ASEAN COVID-19 Conference and has done a phenomenal effort in fulfilling its duties as a responsible and inclusive Chair.

India’s position in the international arena has reaffirmed its relations with Hanoi. The strategic and dynamic relationship with Hanoi is a major pillar of strength for India’s Indo-Pacific strategy, as Vietnam has been building and renewing its relations with the United States, and has been playing an active part in the US Indo-Pacific strategy, which is in line with India’s version.

Hanoi has also been building and strengthening its relations with Japan and Australia, who are also US allies and members of the Quad. Vietnam’s newfound regional and international face is important for its relations with India, as both have common goals and common friends, and hopefully, a future filled with other such commonalities.

Author: Gitanjali Sinha Roy, Trung tâm Nghiên cứu Chiến lược và An ninh Ấn Độ

Bấm vào đây để đọc bản tiếng Việt của bài viết này/Click here to read the Vietnamese version of this article

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