India’s The Diplomat newswire has run an article entitled “India – Vietnam relations: Strong and Getting Stronger” by scholar Rajeswari Pillai Rajagopalan from the Observer Research Foundation, saying that the two countries continue deepening their relationship.
|At the 17th meeting of Vietnam - India Joint Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation (Photo: VNA)
The article said India and Vietnam recently held the 17th meeting of their bilateral Joint Commission on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation which was co-chaired by Indian External Affairs Minister S. Jaishankar and Vietnamese Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh via a video conference.
Both sides were pleased with the outcomes of the meeting and the pace of bilateral relationship. Jaishankar was particularly appreciative of Vietnam’s positive leadership of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN) this year, especially at a time when the region is battling the COVID-19 pandemic.
At the meeting, the two sides took stock of the state of the India-Vietnam comprehensive strategic partnership and agreed to step up their defence and economic partnership. They put special emphasis on areas such as civil nuclear energy, space, marine sciences, and emerging technologies. India and Vietnam also agreed to strengthen their strategic partnership “in line with 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 IPOI is an initiative launched by Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi at the East Asia Summit in Thailand in November 2019. The initiative is centred around seven pillars, including maritime security; maritime ecology; maritime resources; capacity building and resources sharing; disaster risk reduction and management; science, technology, and academic cooperation; and trade connectivity and maritime transport. India has called on Vietnam to partner on one of the seven pillars of the IPOI.
At the recent Joint Commission meeting, India also reiterated its development and capacity assistance for Vietnam through quick impact projects (QIP), Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) and e-ITEC initiatives, Ph.D. fellowships and proposals in the area of water resources management in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs), and digital connectivity.
The Indian Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) in its press release also said India has already approved 12 QIPs for implementation in Vietnam, including seven in water resources management in the Mekong Delta region and five linked to construction of educational infrastructure.
Research and training are also important in the bilateral agenda and this has translated to a couple of memoranda of understanding between the India’s Sushma Swaraj Institute of Foreign Service (SSIFS) and the Diplomatic Academy of Vietnam, and between the National Maritime Foundation of India and the Vietnam Institute of Seas and Islands.
Keeping in mind the strategic challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, India and Vietnam have decided to work in close coordination at multilateral institutions such as the United Nations Security Council. They also decided to continue the momentum in regional strategic platforms such as those under ASEAN.