India, Vietnam draw three-year street map to improve ties

Sandeep Dikshit

Tribune News Service

New Delhi, December 21

India and Vietnam on Monday adopted a “Joint Vision for Peace, Prosperity and People” during an hour-long virtual summit between Prime Ministers Narendra Modi and Nguyen Xuan Phuc.

To implement this Vision, a Plan of Action for the period 2021-2023 was also signed between the two Foreign Ministers, which identifies concrete follow up actions, Secretary (East) Riva Ganguly Das said at a media conference after the event.

India and Vietnam also signed seven new agreements in areas, including scientific research, nuclear & renewable energy, petrochemicals, defence and cancer treatment.

In defence cooperation, a key pillar of bilateral ties, both PMs identified defence industry cooperation as a priority with India symbolically handing over a high-speed guard boat and launching two other vessels manufactured in India.

On Indo-Pacific, they affirmed that a peaceful, stable, secure, free, open, inclusive and rules-based region is in the common interest of all countries, said Das.

They also discussed the keel-laying of seven vessels being manufactured in Vietnam, under the $ 100 million Indian defence Line of Credit.  The two sides signed the “Implementing Arrangement on Defence Industry Cooperation” to build on the pact to ensure confidentiality of defence exchanges inked in 2013 to further defence manufacturing collaboration.  

India will extend a grant of $ 5 million to establish an IT infrastructure at the Army Software Park in Telecommunications University at Nha Trang.

Vietnam has moved closer to the western block during Covid with its Foreign Secretary participating in weekly conversations with his counterparts from the US, India, Japan, Australia, South Korea, Vietnam and New Zealand.

US Secretary of State Mike Pompeo has said the US forces will be reconfigured to counter the Chinese threat to India and Vietnam besides other countries. Vietnam has supported India on Kashmir and its envoy was in the first batch of ambassadors who visited the Valley in January this year.

As both countries will also be together on the UNSC in 2021, the two PMs agreed to actively promote “reformed multilateralism” to make international organisations, including the UN Security Council, more representative and contemporary.

The two leaders also discussed new technology and innovation to deliver good governance, and agreed to work together in peaceful uses of nuclear and space technologies, new developments in ICT, as well as cooperation in start-ups and smart cities.

Vietnam has been the prime beneficiary of some supply chains moving away from China with soaring land rents at industrial parks. It plans to make cryptocurrency and blockchain among its top five priorities and is partnering with advanced countries to participate in the Fourth Industrial Revolution.

As part of their discussion on security cooperation, both PMs also discussed closer engagement in dealing with traditional and non-traditional threats in cyber and maritime domain, terrorism, natural disasters, health security, water security, and transnational crimes.

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