Prime Minister of India Shri Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Việt Nam Mr. Nguyễn Xuân Phúc having the India-Việt Nam Virtual Bilateral Summit on 21st December, 2020
By: Dr. Madan Mohan Sethi, Consul General of India in HCMC
HCM CITY - Dreams rarely come true, but in my case, it happened when I was appointed as Indian Consul General to HCM City last year. This is my second stint as Consul General, after being posted earlier in Mandalay. I arrived in HCM City in July 2020. Till now, I have travelled to around 15 provinces under my jurisdiction and amazed by the infrastructure development and opportunities available for cooperation in each of these provinces.
India and Việt Nam historically share strong civilizational contact which has been further strengthened by our great leaders and strong partnership in different sectors, examples of which can be seen in CLRRI and SOFRI which have been established with the Indian Government´s assistance. The bilateral relationship has progressed into ´Comprehensive Strategic Partnership´ with Vietnam being one of the important pillars in India´s ‘Act East Policy’. The frequent high-level visits between both countries show the depth of the relationship. Both Prime Ministers held a Virtual Summit on 21st December, 2020 to further expand areas of cooperation in areas of defense, people-to-people exchanges, energy, human resource, etc.
Bilateral trade reached around US$12.3 billion in 2019 from $200 million in 2000 and both sides have now committed to taking it to $15 billion at the earliest. Việt Nam is the 18th largest trading partner of India and 3rd among ASEAN countries. India is the 7th largest trading partner of Việt Nam. However, it is felt that there is a lot of untapped potential in this area. The Covid crisis gives the opportunity to both sides to join hands and set up alternative global supply chains in different products that have been disrupted by the pandemic. I feel that there are many sectors like infrastructure, food processing, energy, pharmaceutical, agriculture, IT, higher education, medical care, automotive where Indian companies can invest through partnerships with Vietnamese companies. Consulate has been organizing multiple trades and investment meets with relevant agencies and different provinces to create awareness on opportunities available in both countries. We hope to organize many physical meetings in the coming days once the pandemic is controlled and international travel is resumed.
I see tremendous scope for cooperation in sectors of higher education and IT. With its world-class institutes, quality teaching, excellent academics and alumni ruling the corporate world, India has achieved huge success and international recognition in areas of higher education, R&D, IT and training. There is a large scope for Vietnamese students to go for higher studies in India apart from cooperating with local universities by organizing guest lectures and student/academic exchanges between universities of both sides. I am pleased to share that a virtual guest lecture series has been started by ICFAI, Dehradun, India with the University of Economics and Law (UEL), HCM City and more are in pipeline.
The health care sector is another of India´s success story. India has some of the top and best corporate and government hospitals that have acquired a reputation for their quality and low-cost treatment in the world. I feel, there is scope for cooperation in this sector between hospitals of India and Việt Nam. Consulate is working on a project to strengthen cooperation between both sides in this area.
You all know India is a country of contrast and diversity, multiple cuisines and multiple cultures. The neighbouring countries have been influenced by Indian culture. Both India and Vietnam share a strong cultural history, the evidence of which is the remnants of Cham civilization in Central Việt Nam. The presence of monolith huge temple structures reflects the cultural affinity of both countries. To know & appreciate each other’s culture, Consulate will be hosting different events in different cities and provinces of Central and South Việt Nam.
I am happy to know the presence of a strong Indian diaspora in HCMC and other cities. Efforts are being made to strengthen our relationship with the Vietnamese community through activities organized with the support of the Indian diaspora.
The journey is a long one and I am sure with support, the relationship between India and Vietnam will reach new heights in the coming days. Consulate will be happy to receive feedback/suggestions from any Vietnamese entrepreneur/student in further strengthening this already strong relationship.
Let me wish our Vietnamese friends a ‘Happy TET’ and may the ´Year of Buffalo´ bring more happiness and prosperity to Việt Nam.