Viet Nam News
As India celebrates its Independence Day (August 15), Ambassador Parvathaneni Harish reflects on a movement that inspired the world as well as two millennia of India-Việt Nam ties untainted by any vested interest.
It gives me great pleasure to greet Indian citizens and friends of India on the occasion of the 70th anniversary of India’s independence, a momentous event in the history of the 20th century and which was a result of the efforts of millions of patriotic freedom fighters led by Mahatma Gandhi. It heralded the liberation of the long suppressed peoples of Asia and Africa and provided inspiration and encouragement to freedom movements worldwide, including the Vietnamese freedom struggle led by President Hồ Chí Minh.
His Excellency Mr. Ram Nath Kovind, in his speech last month on assumption of office as President of India, remarked that for India, our endeavors are not for ourselves alone because we believe that the world is our family – Vasudaiva Kutumbakam. He noted that it is very appropriate that the land of Lord Buddha should lead the world in its search for peace, tranquility and ecological balance.
We also celebrate 2017 as the Year of Friendship commemorating the 45th anniversary of diplomatic relations between India and Việt Nam, the 10th anniversary of our Strategic Partnership as also the 25th anniversary of India-ASEAN Dialogue Partnership.
India and Việt Nam have, over two millennia, shared geographical, historical and civilizational ties. We evolved a common cultural matrix of Buddhism and Hinduism, exchanged traders and monks, learnt each other’s languages including Sanskrit, and intermingled without conquest or colonization. Our friendship has strengthened during the phase of national reunification of Việt Nam and the relationship has diversified during the current phase of national reconstruction and development.
Dispelling darkness: Lamps lit for Diwali, India’s festival of lights. -- Photo courtesy of the Embassy of India
The landmark visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi last year had upgraded our bilateral relationship to a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. A Plan of Action to give concrete shape to this Partnership was agreed upon by External Affairs Minister Mrs. Sushma Swaraj and Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Phạm Bình Minh last month.
High level visits by the Chairwoman of the National Assembly Mme. Nguyễn Thị Kim Ngân and Minister for National Defence Gen. Ngô Xuân Lịch to India last year and visits of our Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar, Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Mrs. Nirmala Sitharaman and Minister of State for External Affairs Gen. Dr. V. K. Singh have strengthened various dimensions of our relationship.
Defence and security co-operation is an important pillar of our partnership, characterised by established dialogue mechanisms, human resource development, ship visits and defence industry linkages. Our co-operation includes non-traditional security, counterterrorism and cyber security.
Our leaders have identified strong economic engagement as a key element of our partnership and have set an ambitious trade target of US$15 billion by the year 2020. Bilateral trade during 2016-2017 was slightly over US$10 billion and we remain committed to diversifying our trade and exploring new areas to reach the target set by our leaders. Many ongoing and new infrastructure projects in traditional and renewable energy will significantly enhance Indian investments in Việt Nam.
India’s development partnership activities in Việt Nam have a long history and have focused on human resource development and institution building. India’s assistance in the establishment of the Cửu Long Rice Research Institute and the Buffalo and Forage Research Center and in training agricultural and dairy scientists in the 1970s has helped transform the agricultural destiny of Việt Nam and remains a shining example of effective and need-based assistance rendered at the right time in a meaningful way. Today, Việt Nam is the world’s third largest exporter of rice and a significant agricultural economy.
For India, ASEAN is at the heart of our ‘Act East Policy’ and at the center of a dream of an Asian century, of which Việt Nam is an important pillar. We believe that ASEAN has a central role in bringing about an open and inclusive regional security architecture for greater security and stability in the Indo-Pacific region. As our Co-ordinator Country in ASEAN, Việt Nam and India will be working closely to organize a number of events to mark the silver jubilee of the India-ASEAN partnership including a commemorative summit in New Delhi that will reflect on our joint achievements and define a roadmap for the future.
The cultural connect between our people remains an important aspect of our bilateral engagement. I have spent over a year in Việt Nam and the popularity of Indian television serials, movies and yoga is very unique. During the recent International Day of Yoga celebrations in June this year, I was struck by the passion and commitment of thousands of Vietnamese friends who performed yoga. Yoga has emerged as a strong binding cultural element between our people and the recent inauguration of the Indian Cultural Center in Hà Nội and its regular classes will provide new opportunities for reaching out to those who have not yet been touched by the miracle of yoga.
Earlier this year, the Archaeological Survey of India began the conservation and restoration of the Chăm monuments at Mỹ Sơn. There is huge excitement among Indian and Vietnamese archaeologists at having discovered new artefacts. We are happy to contribute to the preservation of our joint cultural heritage.
I thank the leadership, government and the people of Việt Nam for their friendship towards India and the Indian people, and their commitment to further strengthen our relationship.
VIỆT NAM - ẤN ĐỘ MUÔN NĂM!
Long live India Việt Nam friendship!