Encouraging signs of Indo-Vietnam relations

With the Premier Nguyen Dung leading a fifty member trade delegation to India, one can expect improved relations between the two.


Our relations with Vietnam have grown in the last couple of decades, more so in the last two years. Last year, the Vietnam government launched a campaign called ‘Year of India-Vietnam Friendship’ and early this year, Vice President Hamid Ansari graced the occasion by becoming a part of the celebrations.

The extent of a blooming relationship became pronounced soon after the NDA came to power, when Sushma Swaraj, our External Affairs Minister, visited the country. 


Thereafter, our President, Pranab Mukherjee visited Vietnam and an MoU was signed to cover a defence pact.

It is now Vietnam’s turn to reciprocate and Premier Nguyen Tan Dung is already in the country, leading a 50 member trade delegation, which would call on the President, and other Government officials.  It is expected that the Premier will have a separate interactive session with our Prime Minister, Narendra Modi.

The delegation, after visiting the holy Bodhgaya, would head towards New Delhi where a very busy schedule awaits.

When President Mukherjee visited Hanoi six weeks ago, a defence MOU was signed, covering a $100 million line of credit to purchase patrol boats to boost coastal security. 


India will provide military hardware to Vietnamese armed forces.  Since both countries predominantly use Russian defence equipment, expecting bilateral cooperation in maintenance and spare supplies, when needed, should not pose a problem.

Seven years ago, both countries became strategic partners due to growing Chinese threats in the area, particularly in and around the South China Sea.  India has offered to build the Vietnamese armed forces, for which Vietnam has shown keen interest.

India has long been following an intensified Look East policy, especially in the ASEAN region, where Vietnam plays a vital role.  Both countries have made reasonably good progress with bilateral trade reaching $ 7 billion, which could go up considerably, if expanded.  Vietnam wants India to invest in oil and gas exploration, mining, infrastructure, IT sector, textiles, engineering goods and services in the beginning. 


China has, however, openly resented the idea of India joining Vietnam in oil/gas exploration, though this has to be purely treated as a commercial deal rather than attaching any political aspiration.  

There is also a strong possibility of important defence MoUs being concluded during the current visit.

Though China has extended economic aids to Hanoi in the past, Vietanam, wants to establish itself as an independent nation, based on its national policy and development requirements.  In addition to that Vietnam playing the country coordinator for India in the ASEAN and it is imperative that both countries extend their hand of friendship and cooperate in a big way.

While full details have not yet been announced, direct air flights between the two countries are expected to be scheduled from 5th November, and it is hoped that, before long, airlines would plan direct services to Bodhgaya to promote pilgrimage tourism for Buddhists of the region.

10 years ago
This is a good move. India should move close to Vietnam on both he economic and the security front.India helped Vietnam become a coffee super power even to its own detriment. Now joint exploitation of mineral resources and twitting China is a natural next step.
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