India-Vietnam mark 50 years of Diplomatic Relations

India-Vietnam mark 50 years of Diplomatic Relations

News: Recently, Indian Defence Minister visited Vietnam, where he signed some Defence Agreements, which will significantly enhance the scope and scale of existing defence cooperation.

Highlights of the visit:
 India-Vietnam Defence Partnership towards 2030
• Both the Defence Ministers signed the ‘Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defence Partnership towards 2030’ to bolster bilateral defence cooperation.

 Mutual Logistics Support
• A MOU was signed was signed on mutual logistics support. It is a major step towards simplifying procedures for mutually beneficial logistic support and is the first such major agreement which Vietnam has signed with any country.

 Defence Line of Credit
• The two ministers agreed on the finalisation of the USD 500 million Defence Line of Credit extended to Vietnam with implementation of the projects under it adding substantially to Vietnam’s defence capabilities and furthering the government’s vision of ‘Make in India, Make for the World.’

 Simulators and Monetary Grant
• India will gift two simulators and a monetary grant towards setting up of Language and IT (Information Technology) Lab at the Air Force Officers Training School for capacity building of the Vietnamese Armed Forces.

India-Vietnam relations and areas of co-operation:
 Historical Background
• India had established the Consul General’s office in Hanoi as early as 1956.
• India had stood by Vietnam in opposing US intervention in that country at the cost of embittering Indo-US relations.

 Strategic Importance
• India finds Vietnam well placed in its vision of India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) and the ASEAN’s outlook on Indo-Pacific to achieve shared security, prosperity and growth for all in the region.
• The China factor also weighs heavily in the respective strategic calculus of India and Vietnam. 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.

 Economic Co-operation
• India is investing in development and capacity assistance for Vietnam through quick impact projects (QIP), proposals in the area of water resource management in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and digital connectivity.
• India understands that Vietnam is a key regional player in the ASEAN region as it not only possesses political stability but also has good economic growth prospects.

 Defence Cooperation
• While Vietnam is interested in modernising its armed forces, India is interested in developing defence capabilities of its South-East Asian partners sufficiently to maintain peace in the strategic region.
• Vietnam is interested in India’s Akash surface-to-air systems and Dhruv advanced light helicopters and Brahmos missiles.

Way Forward:
• In 2016 it was the first time in 15 years, an Indian Prime Minister visited Vietnam signaling India is no longer hesitant to expand its presence in China’s periphery.
• India's foreign policy envisages India to play an anchor for peace, prosperity and stability in Asia and Africa, deepening ties with Vietnam will only strengthen this narrative.

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