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Home India-Viet Nam Relations Bilateral Relations
Bilateral Relations

Background

1.      India-Vietnam relations have been exceptionally friendly and cordial since their foundations were laid by founding fathers of the two countries - President Ho Chi Minh and President Rajendra Prasad and Prime Minister Nehru. The traditionally close and cordial relations have their historical roots in the common struggle for liberation from foreign rule and the national struggle for independence. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the first visitors to Vietnam after its victory against the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. President Ho Chi Minh went to India in February 1958. President Rajendra Prasad visited Vietnam in 1959. 

2.      In recent times, political contacts have strengthened as reflected in several high-level visits by leaders from both sides. Trade and economic linkages continue to grow. India's thrust under the 'Look East' policy combined with Vietnam's growing engagement within the region and with India has paid rich dividends. Vietnam is an important regional partner in South East Asia. India and Vietnam closely cooperate in various regional forums such as ASEAN, East Asia Summit, Mekong Ganga Cooperation, Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) besides UN and WTO.  

Exchange of high –level visits

3.     There have been fairly regularhigh-level visits from both sides. From the Vietnamese side, these include General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Mr. Nong Duc Manh in 2003, Prime Minister Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung, in 2007, Vice-President Mme. Nguyen Thi Doan in 2009 and Chairman, National Assembly of Vietnam Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong in 2010, President Mr. Truong Tan Sang in October 2011, General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong in November 2013 and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in October 2014. Prime Minister Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung visited India in December 2012 to participate in the India-ASEAN Commemorative Summit. From the Indian side, Prime Minister, Mr. Atal Behari Vajpayee in 2001, Lok Sabha Speaker Mr. Somnath Chatterjee in March 2007, President Mrs. Pratibha Patil in November 2008, PM Dr. Manmohan Singh in October 2010 to attend the 8th ASEAN-India Summit and the 5th East Asia Summit, Lok Sabha Speaker Mrs. Meira Kumar in May 2011, Vice President, Mr. Md. Hamid Ansari from 14-17 January 2013 for the closing ceremony of the India-Vietnam Friendship Year 2012. The more recent ones include the following:

4.     General Secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong paid a State visit to India from 19-22 November 2013 at the invitation of Prime Minister Manmohan Singh. During his visit, General Secretary called on the President and met the Vice President, Speaker of the Lok Sabha and held talks with Prime Minister. External Affairs Minister and leaders of Indian political parties met the General Secretary separately. The General Secretary also visited Mumbai where he met the Governor of Maharashtra and interacted with the Indian business community. A Joint Statement was issued and 8 bilateral MoUs/ agreements were signed.

5.    The President of India paid a State Visit to Vietnam from 14-17 September 2014.  During the visit, he held delegation level talks with the President of Vietnam and had meetings with the PM, CPV General Secretary and the National Assembly Chairman.  Following the talks with the Vietnamese President, seven agreements/MOUs were signed in the fields of Customs, Defence LOC, Animal Health, Pangasius Breeding, Youth Affairs and starting of direct flights between India and Vietnam. During the visit, both Presidents jointly inaugurated the Centre for Indian Studies in the Ho Chi Minh Academy of Politics and Public Administration. The President also visited Ho Chi Minh City from 16-17 September.

6.     Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung was on a State Visit to India on 27-28 October 2014.  He held delegation levels talks with Prime Minister Modi and had meetings with the President, Vice President, Speaker of Lok Sabha and EAM. PM Dung also visited Bodh Gaya and met the Chief Minister of Bihar. Seven agreements on education culture, energy were signed during the visit. Bank of India was also granted an in-principle approval to open branch offices in Vietnam.

7.       Ministerial-level exchanges in the last few years include: External Affairs Minister Mr. S.M. Krishna visited Hanoi in September 2011 for the 14th India-Vietnam Joint Commission Meeting on Trade, Economic, Scientific and Technological Cooperation. Minister of State for External Affairs, Mr. E. Ahmed in January 2012 for the inauguration of the ‘India-Vietnam Year of Friendship’ marking the 40th anniversary of establishment of full diplomatic relations. Minister of Commerce and Industry Mr. Anand Sharma in March 2012. Minister for Agriculture Mr. Sharad Pawar in October 2012 and Minister of State for Tourism, Dr. K. Chiranjeevi in January 2013. Minister of State for Commerce and Industry Dr. D. Purandeswari to Ho Chi Minh City in April 2013, Minister of Shipping Mr. G.K. Vasan in May 2013, during which the bilateral Maritime Shipping Agreement was signed. Shri V. Kishore Chandra Deo, Minister for Tribal Affairs & Panchayati Raj led a 12-member delegation to Vietnam from 7-11 January 2014 at the invitation of UNDP.  Apart from Hanoi, the delegation also visited Danang and ethnic minority region of Quang Ngai and Tra Bong. EAM Smt. Sushma Swaraj visited Vietnam from 24-26 August 2014 to attend the Regional HOMs Conference in Hanoi on 26 August, the 3rd ASEAN-India Network of Think Tanks Meeting from 25-26 August and also had bilateral meetings with Vietnamese side. Defense Minister Mr. Manohar Parrikar, accompanied by a 7-member delegation comprising senior officials, paid an official visit to Vietnam from 5-7 June, 2016. The main focus of the visit was promotion of the Defence industry. A Defence Industry Business Meeting was organized on the sidelines of the visit.

8.       At the invitation of Mr. Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Vietnam, Prime Minister Narendra Modi paid an Official Visit to the Vietnam on02 - 03 September 2016. Bilateral talks between the two Prime Ministers was followed by the the signing of several bilateral documents. During his visit, PM alsomet Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of Vietnam Communist Party, Mr. Tran Dai Quang, President of Vietnam, and Mrs. Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Chairperson of the National Assembly of Vietnam. Based on the current excellent relations and with the desire to contribute to regional peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity, Vietnam and India agreed to elevate theStrategic Partnership to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

9.       From the Vietnamese side, these include: Chairman of External Relations Commission, Communist Party of Vietnam, Mr. Hoang Binh Quan in April 2011, Vice-Chairman of National Assembly, Mr. Huynh Ngoc Son in May 2011 and Deputy Minister and Chairman of National Border Affairs Committee, Mr. Ho Xuan Son in June 2011. Deputy Prime Minister Mr. Nguyen Thien Nhan in March-April 2012. Chairman of the Fatherland Front, Mr. Huynh Dam in November-December 2012 under the Distinguished Visitors Programme of ICCR. Deputy Finance Minister, Mr. Tran Van Hieu in August 2012. Deputy Prime Minister, Mr. Vu Van Ninh in January 2013. Vice President of National Assembly Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan in February 2013. Minister for Information and Communication Mr. Nguyen Bac Son in July 2013, Foreign Minister Pham Binh Minh in July 2013 for the 15th meeting of the Joint Commission, Minister of Public Security Gen. Tran Dai Quang in November 2013 and Minister of Health Dr. Nguyen Thi Kim Tien in December 2013. Prof. Nguyen Xuan Thang, President of the Vietnam Academy of Social Sciences (VASS) visited India in August 2014 under the ASEAN-India Eminent Person Lecture Series. Prof. Ta Ngoc Tan, President of the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics and Public Administration visited India in October 2014. An MoU with the Indian Institute of Public Administration (IIPA), New Delhi was signed during this visit. Vietnamese Politburo Member and President of the Vietnam Fatherland Front Nguyen Thien Nhan visited India in March 2015. Defence Minister General Phung Quang Thanh visited India from 23-26 May 2015.

10.      Regular meetings between the leaderships of the two sides have taken place onthe sidelines of multilateral summit meetings.

Institutionalized mechanisms for bilateral exchanges

11.       The Joint Commission Meeting at the Foreign Ministers' level and the Foreign Office Consultations (FOCs) and Strategic Dialogue at Secretary-level provide the larger framework for bilateral cooperation in various areas. There is an annual Security Dialogue at Defence Secretary Level and a Joint Committee on Science and Technology that meets periodically. The India-Vietnam Joint Working Group on Educational Exchange was set up in 2012. The India-Vietnam Joint Sub-Commission on Trade was set up in 2013.

Economic and Commercial Relations

12.        India's relations with Vietnam are marked by growing economic and commercial engagement. India is now among the top ten trading partners of Vietnam. During former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to India in October 2014, the two sides decided to make economic cooperation a strategic thrust in the India-Vietnam Strategic Partnership. Thereafter, during the 2nd meeting of the Joint Sub-Committee, held on 20th January 2015, five key sectors were identified as thrust areas including garment and textile, pharmaceuticals, agro-commodities, leather & footwear and engineering. The 3rd meeting of the JCM was held in New Delhi on 15 March 2016.

13.      Bilateral trade between India and Vietnam has seen continuous growth over the past few years. India is now among the top ten trading partners of Vietnam. According to GOI data, trade volume has crossed more than USD 7billion in FY 2014-15 well before the 2015 target.Both sides have agreed on a new trade target of US$ 15 bn by 2020. Major export commodities from India are machinery and equipment, seafood, pharmaceuticals, cottons of all kinds, automobiles, textiles and leather accessories, cattle feed ingredient, chemicals, plastic resins, products of chemicals, fibres of all kinds, steel of all kinds, fabrics of all kinds, ordinary metals  and Jewellery & precious stones.

14.       Indian investments in Vietnam have remained constant at around US$ 1 billion but are expected to rise in the coming years. During 2015, Indian companies registered 23 new projects with a total capital of US$138.99 million in the areas of food processing, fertilizers, auto components, textile accessories etc. With these projects, India now has 132projects with total investments of about US$1.07 billion. This includes Indian investment from third countries.  Major sectors of investment are energy, mineral exploration, agro-processing, sugar manufacturing, agro-chemicals, IT and auto components.

Defence Cooperation

15.      Defence Cooperation has emerged as a significant pillar of our strategic partnership with Vietnam. After the signing of the MoU on Defence Cooperation by the two Defence Ministers in November 2009, the relations have grown from strength to strength. We are currently offering 50 ITEC slots every year to Vietnamese defence personnel. Indian ships regularly make friendly port calls to Vietnam. For the first time, a Vietnamese Ship participated in the International Fleet Review at Vishakhapatnam, India, in February 2016.

Science and Technology

16.       The Joint Committee on Science and Technology meets periodically to review the progress made in cooperation in Science and Technology. The 9th meeting was held in Hanoi in November 2012 at which the Programme of Cooperation (POC) in Science and Technology for 2013-14 was adopted by the two sides. The PoC provides for joint projects, seminars, workshops and exploratory visits of experts in the fields of biotechnology, material science, ICT, ocean development and oceanographic research, pharmaceuticals and medical research. Both sides have initiated a Joint Project for leather research and tannery waste recycling between Central Leather Research Institute of India and the Viet Nam Leather Research Institute.

Assistance and Capacity Building

17.      Lines of Credit: Since 1976, India has offered several Lines of Credit (LoCs) to Vietnam over the years on concessional terms and conditions. A LoC agreement was signed in July 2013 for US$ 19.5 million for execution of a Nam Trai-IV hydropower project and Binh Bo Pumping station. In addition, India has also offered to discuss a line of credit of US$300 million in the textile sector. India has also agreed to consider earmarking an amount of up to USD 100 million under the Buyer's Credit of the National Export Insurance Account(BC-NEIA) for use by Vietnam.

18.      Scholarships:Vietnam has been a large recipient of training programmes under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme. Presently, 150 ITEC slots are being offered to Vietnam every year along with 16 scholarships under the General Cultural Scholarship Scheme (GCSS), 14 scholarships under the Educational Exchange Programme (EEP) and 10 scholarships under the Mekong Ganga Cooperation Scholarship Scheme (MGCSS).

19.        ARC-ICT:A US$ 2 million Advanced Resource Centre in Information and Communications Technology (ARC-ICT) was inaugurated by External Affairs Minister in Hanoi in September 2011. The Centre has been set up by the Centre for Development of Advanced Computing (CDAC) and trains students and Government officials in various areas such as web designing, network systems, java, GIS applications and e-governance.

20.      Gift of High Performance Computer:On 12 November 2013, the High Performance Computing facility at the Hanoi University of Science & Technology was inaugurated by Vice Minister of Education and Training Mr. Tran Quang Quy, Ambassador Preeti Saran and Director General of CDAC Shri Rajat Moona. The 16-node cluster with basic visualization laboratory and a 5-node Grid Computing facility at an estimated cost of Rs. 4.7 crore has been gifted to Vietnam by India. This is the highest configuration of supercomputer ever gifted by Indian Government till date.

21.      Indira Gandhi Hi-Tech Crime Laboratory: This Rs 2 crore grant assistance project to establish a Hi-Tech Crime Laboratory in Ha Noi. The MoU on this project was signed in November 2013.

Assistance to Vietnam within the ASEAN framework

22.      India has set up the Vietnam-India Center for English Language Training in Danang in July 2007 and the Vietnam-India Entrepreneurship Development Centre in Hanoi in May 2006 as part of its support to the Initiative for ASEAN Integration providing technical assistance to the Government of Vietnam.

23.       The Vietnam-India Centre for English Language Training at the Technical University in Nha Trang is also running successfully. There is also a proposal to set up a Centre for Excellence in Software Development and Training in Ho Chi Minh City.

24.        A proposal to set up a Centre for Satellite Tracking and Data Reception and an Imaging facility in Vietnam under ASEAN-India Cooperation mechanism is under consideration. The Centre will be fully funded by India and ISRO will be the implementing agency. It will utilise data provided by Indian remote sensing satellites and harness it for multiple developmental applications.

25.         Assistance through IBSA: IBSA funded Rice Seed Improvement Project in Danang is ongoing with a grant from IBSA fund of US$ 529,000. An e-learning project for medical training at the Haiphong Medical University is under consideration.

Cultural Relations and People to People Exchanges

26.         A Festival of India was held in Vietnam from 5-15 March 2014. It was held in three cities – Hanoi, Danang and Ho Chi Minh City and had the following components: Classical Dance Recital by Sangeet Natak Academy, Buddhist Festival by Central Institute of Himalayan Cultural Studies, Food Festival, Folk dance by Kalbelia Group, Mehendi, and Yoga. All elements of the festival received an overwhelming response in Vietnam.

27.        A 12-member dance troupe from Dance Era, a Bollywood dance group sponsored by ICCR, visited Vietnam during 25-29 June 2014. The troupe performed in Hanoi, Phu Tho and Yen Bai.

28.         The first ever Indian Film Festival (IFF) was organized in three cities of Vietnam (Danang, Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City) from 12-23 December 2015. During the festival eight Hindi films with Vietnamese subtitles were screened. A seminar on ‘Collaboration in Film making and it’s role in promotion of Tourism’ was organized on 19th December 2015, in Hanoi. The inauguration of Film Festival and the seminar were attended by 11 Film producers/Directors from India apart from Vietnamese dignitaries and film producers/directors.

29.         India has decided to open a Cultural Centre in Hanoi. The Centre will strengthen India’s cultural presence in Vietnam and constitute an important dimension of the friendly partnership between the two countries.

30.         Conservation and restoration of Cham monuments: The Archaeological Survey of India is to execute a conservation and restoration project at the UNESCO heritage site of My Son in Vietnam. The project will highlight the old linkages of the Hindu Cham civilization between India and Vietnam. An MoU to this effect was signed during the visit of the Vietnamese Prime Minister to India in October 2014. 

31.        India has accorded visa-on-arrival facility for Vietnamese nationals with effect from 1 January 2011.

Indian Community

32.       Estimated population of Indians living in Vietnam is 2500, mostly in HCMC. The Indian Business Chamber (INCHAM) is an organisation of Indians living in Vietnam, primarily to promote trade and business interactions. The Indian community is vibrant, law-abiding, well-educated and prosperous. A vast majority of them are professionals working in Indian and multinational companies. They retain strong family, cultural and business ties with India. With the ongoing increase in bilateral trade, investment and tourism, the Indian community in Vietnam is set to grow and prosper further in the years ahead.

(September 2016)