Viet Nam News
On the occasion of India’s 70th Independence Day today (August 15), Việt Nam News presents an article written by the Ambassador of India to Việt Nam, Parvathaneni Harish.
India celebrates National Day
Today, on 15th August 2016, India celebrates its 70th year of independence. It was on this day in 1947 that India achieved its independence after a long and valiant struggle against colonial rule, uniquely characterized by non-violence and civil disobedience. This month also marks the 75th anniversary of the “Quit India” movement against the British launched by the Father of our nation, Mahatma Gandhi, in 1942.
The traditionally close relations between India and Việt Nam in recent times have their roots in our freedom struggle led by our founding fathers, Mahatma Gandhi and Hồ Chí Minh. However, our civilisational relationship spans over 2000 years as the advent of Buddhism to Việt Nam and the remnants of the Hindu Champa civilisation in Việt Nam stand testimony. Our monks and traders have interacted over centuries and cultural exchanges have left their imprint on our daily lives and activities. In an effort to preserve this history for posterity, the Archeological Survey of India will be assisting the Vietnamese Government in the conservation of the Cham Monuments in Mỹ Sơn.
We established diplomatic relations at ambassadorial level in January 1972. The relationship was elevated to the level of ‘Strategic Partnership’ in 2007. In 2017, our two countries will be celebrating the 45th anniversary of the establishment of our diplomatic relations and 10 years of Strategic Partnership. We will be organising numerous political, cultural and economic events to celebrate these important milestones in our partnership.
High level political visits have established a comprehensive agenda for our Strategic Partnership. Prime Minister Narendra Modi will be visiting Hà Nội next month on the first bilateral visit of an Indian Prime Minister in 15 years and both sides are working on an ambitious agenda that will benefit our countries and peoples.
Prime Minister Modi has focused on the ease of doing business with his motto “no red tape, only red carpet”. The numerous flagship programmes launched in India such as Make in India, Skill India, Startup India, Digital India and the Smart City Mission are intended to reinforce the infrastructure, skill the workforce, encourage innovation and entrepreneurship, ensure inclusive digital access and improve urban management and governance.
India is now among the top 10 trading partners of Việt Nam. With a bilateral trade of US$7.8 billion (2015-16), Việt Nam is an important destination for Indian exports in the region. The two countries have set an ambitious trade target of $15 billion for 2020. India’s investments in Việt Nam are over $1.1 billion in 132 projects and will increase to over $3 billion once major upcoming investments in the power sector are implemented.
The Indian Government under the leadership of Prime Minister Narendra Modi and External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj have focused on its ‘Act East’ policy in which our strategic partnership with Việt Nam is a major pillar. Việt Nam is also the coordinator country for the India-ASEAN relationship and we look forward to intense engagement with Việt Nam and ASEAN in the period ahead.
Our cultural outreach to Việt Nam will receive a major boost with the impending opening of the Indian Cultural Centre in Hà Nội. We look forward to conducting classes in Indian music and dance and already hold regular classes in yoga that are immensely popular. We received overwhelming support from the Vietnamese authorities and the thousands of Vietnamese people who enthusiastically participated in the International Day of Yoga celebrations in June in all major cities. Our partnership in training and human resource development is strong and India offers over 200 scholarships every year.
Today I am reminded of Nobel laureate Rabindranath Tagore’s words during his memorable visit to Việt Nam in 1929:
“Please know that before human joys and human miseries, my heart always beats with the same rhythm as that of those of my predecessors who in the most distant past lived among you… I bring you the greetings of that radiant India, who lavished her light on this land as well as the message of sympathy and brotherhood of present India.”
I wish the Indian community and friends of India in Việt Nam a very happy Independence Day. — VNS