The Mỹ Sơn temple complex in Quảng Nam province restored by the Archaeological Survey of India stands as a glorious symbol of millennia-old civilisational ties between Indian and Việt Nam. – Photo courtesy of the embassy
Indian Ambassador to Việt Nam Pranay Verma sends a message to celebrate the 74th Independence Day of India which falls on August 15.
It was on this day in 1947 that the people of India won independence from colonial subjugation and embarked on a journey of development, progress and global integration.
In 73 years since then, India as a nation has experienced a remarkable journey. We are now among the five largest economies in the world. The transformation to a ‘New India’ envisioned by Prime Minister Narendra Modi is not limited to just economic growth. It places equal emphasis on good governance, people’s empowerment – through the use of technology and participation, and an inclusive and sustainable development model. The scale of this transformation is going to create capabilities and generate demands that will offer great opportunities for our partners, including Việt Nam.
The year 2020 has recast the landscape of human interaction by bringing an unprecedented crisis to the humankind in the form of COVID-19 pandemic. At this difficult time, India has been working closely with the global community to help in containing and controlling the pandemic. As the ‘pharmacy of the world’, India’s priority is to make available all supportive pharmaceutical products that can aid effective pandemic management efforts. India is also at the forefront of global efforts to develop a vaccine for the benefit of all of humanity.
Ambassador Pranay Verma sends a message to celebrate the 74th Independence Day.
In shaping the global response to COVID-19, Prime Minister Modi has underlined the concept of ‘human-centric globalisation’ that seeks economic revival based on care and compassion. He has also envisioned a ‘self-reliant India’ – Aatma Nirbhar Bhaarat as it is called in Hindi – which is self-sustaining and resilient, not by isolating India, but by building capacities at home so that India can integrate better with the global value chains. We believe that given its size, capacities and ambitions, India has to be a major factor in the post-pandemic global revival. And the steps India is taking are not incremental; they are transformative.
With Việt Nam, our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership today spans a wide range of collaboration – from political engagement to economic and development partnership, defence and security co-operation, energy co-operation, cultural exchanges and people-to-people contacts. Despite the disruptions caused by COVID-19, our multifaceted engagement with Việt Nam has moved forward, including at the highest levels. The longstanding tradition of exchange of high-level visits continued with the visit of Vice President Madam Đặng Thị Ngọc Thịnh to India in February this year. In April, Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Nguyễn Xuân Phúc spoke on the telephone not only to exchange views on COVID-19 but also to lay down guidelines for our bilateral relations in 2020.
Our businesses are re-engaging after initial disruptions due to the pandemic, with industry chambers on both sides coming together through online platforms. Last year, India ranked as the seventh-largest trading partner of Việt Nam with bilateral trade of about US$12 billion. This is still not commensurate with the levels of our economic development and the fact that we both are among the fastest-growing economies in the world today. New opportunities are presenting themselves as COVID-19 has pushed us into rethinking the old ways of engaging with each other. We are today exploring new supply chains and new partnerships with each other.
Our development partnership with Việt Nam has also moved forward. In addition to capacity building exchanges for managing COVID-19, our partnership has entered new domains including science and technology, space applications, information and communications technology, physical and digital connectivity, civil nuclear energy, water resources development and so on. Our quick impact projects in many provinces of Việt Nam are bringing speedy and tangible socio-economic benefits to common people.
As a special focus of our development partnership, Indian archaeological experts have continued their heritage conservation project in Mỹ Sơn in Quảng Nam Province. In the course of conservation work over the last several months, they have found some magnificent icons of our civilisational interaction, including a ninth-century-old monolithic Shiva Linga.
The growing popularity of yoga in Việt Nam, showcased by celebrations in a number of provinces on the International Day of Yoga, continues to highlight our cultural and people-to-people ties.
Our defence partnership has moved forward along several dimensions, including military exchanges, training, joint exercises, peacekeeping and ship visits, to name a few. Defence industrial co-operation is a new focus of our engagement, with defence lines of credit worth US$600 million towards strengthening Việt Nam’s domestic defence manufacturing.
In the wider global and regional context, we consider Việt Nam a key pillar of India’s Act East Policy and an important partner in India’s Indo-Pacific Vision, based on our shared values and interests in promoting peace, stability and prosperity of our region. We are happy that ASEAN countries, including Việt Nam, have come up with their own outlook on the Indo-Pacific, which is broadly similar to India’s Indo-Pacific Vision. Together, they provide a useful roadmap to promote regional integration through connectivity and partnerships. With Việt Nam successfully steering the ASEAN chairmanship despite the disruptions of COVID-19, India’s engagements with Việt Nam and ASEAN have been strengthened.
Both India and Việt Nam are contributing to regional and global peace and development through UN peacekeeping, as well as through committed actions towards achieving Sustainable Development Goals and addressing climate change. India is going to join Việt Nam as a non-permanent member of the UN Security Council on January 1, 2021. With their voices of moderation and inclusivity, respect for international law and commitment to reformed multilateralism, the concurrent presence of India and Việt Nam in the Security Council provides a renewed basis for more robust co-operation between them on global issues.
As India celebrates its Independence Day today, we recommit ourselves to working together with Việt Nam – one of our closest friends and most trusted partners – to take our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership to newer heights aligned with our national development priorities. VNS