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Tuesday, 25 July 2017 09:52
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Scientific exchange and proposal for strengthening Vietnam - India cooperation

(LLCT) - Today, on behalf of Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, I would like to warmly welcome the Vice President of Vietnam and distinguished guests, Vietnamese and Indian scholars to attend the international seminar “Viet Nam - India: 45 years of diplomatic ties and 10 years of strategic partnership”. 

India has a long and well-developed culture. Since ancient time, India has been one of the four civilized cradles of humankind. India has always played an important role in geopolitics, geo-economics, and geo-strategy. In recent years, India has become one of the fastest growing economies in the world. It is expected that by 2030 India will have become the world’s 3rd largest economy after the United States and China and the fourth largest defense potential after United States, Russia, and China. With the world’s second-largest population and a young, intellectually dynamic workforce, India is likely to become a model for the combination of economic growth and democratic exercise. Japanese Prime Minister Shinzo Abe has said that, together with Japan, Australia and the American state of Hawaii, India forms the four-peak diamond of security, which ensures benefits that spread from India Ocean to the Western Pacific. The spirit of exchange and integration has been nurtured by Indian leaders for decades and now is being inherited and developed. Today, Prime Minister Narendra Modi raises the determination of developing the economy, stabilizing its growing defense capacity, reforming foreign policies, among which economic diplomacy and expansion of strategic partnerships are the two central priorities. This further proves the position and role of India in ensuring the balance of strategic security in the region.

Due to its natural conditions and geostrategic position along the East Sea, Vietnam has enjoyed the advantage of exchanges, integration, and acculturation. Dai Viet civilization has been ranked one of the 34 earliest civilizations. Many scholars agree that the cultural identity of Vietnam was created in the rice paddy of Red River many thousands of years ago and has been refined and affirmed during 2000 years of its struggle for independence. Vietnam is great enough for successful acculturation and modernization while maintaining national identity.

Currently, Vietnam has been carrying out the Renewal, reshaping its mindset toward a socialist-oriented economy, by the people and for the people. Every person has the opportunity to participate in and benefit from this system, with the goal of a “prosperous people, strong, democratic, equitable and civilized country”. Vietnam has operated the market mechanism to mobilize and allocate resources effectively. Thanks to the renewal and integration, Vietnam has become a fast-growing country in Asia and a major exporter of rice and agricultural products in the world. Vietnam is assessed by the United Nations to have impressive policies of poverty reduction with a poverty rate under 10%. At present, Vietnam continues to establish a number of partnership and cooperative relationships, actively participating in many free trade agreements. Vietnam has become an attractive destination for international investors, including Indian investors.

Vietnam and India’s relationship is over two millennia long. Buddhism and Hinduism have made significant contributions to the cultural exchange between the two countries. India has peacefully brought culture and civilization with profound humanistic values to Vietnam. As Prime Minister Narendra Modi noted when visiting Vietnam in September 2016, invaders who brought wars to Vietnam were swept out of the country, but Indian Buddhism and its peaceful thought, humanity and humanistic philosophy will always remain in Vietnam. In modern times, this relationship has been strengthened thanks to the countries’ shared views in the fight for freedom and independence under the leadership of President Ho Chi Minh, Mahatma Gandhi, and Jawaharlal Nehru. With a relationship that is, in the words of the late Prime Minister Pham Van Dong “as clear as the sky with no cloud” the two countries have officially established state-level relations in 1972, which was upgraded to strategic partnership in 2007 and later to comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016.

Over the past 45 years, Vietnam - India relationship has undergone a long path, increasingly enhanced in quality and continuously expanded in all fields. Of course, the prominence of the bilateral relationship is emerged in five major pillars: politics - diplomacy, defense - security, economy - trade, energy, culture - education - science - technology and people’s diplomacy.

 - For politics - diplomacy

Since Vietnam and India have no history of entanglement, it can be said that the two countries enjoy an excellent political and diplomatic relationship with high reliability. Furthermore, both have common strategic interests and are ready to trust and share with each other in most of the bilateral as well as multilateral issues, including hot and tense matters such as the East Sea issue. The political reliability has been always consolidated through the regular exchanges of high-level delegations of the Party, State, National Assembly and Government of both sides. In recent years, the Party General Secretary, State President, Chairman of the National Assembly and Prime Minister of Vietnam have visited India. Similarly, President, Prime Minister, Deputy Prime Minister and President of the Parliament of India have visited Vietnam. These high-level visits not only lay the foundation and create momentum for implementing signed cooperation agreements but also tighten the political reliability between the two countries.

- For defense - security

Cooperation in defense and security is a major pillar in abilateral relationship. The two countries have exchanged defense ministerial visits, established a strategic dialogue of defense mechanisms at the vice-minister level, and declared their joint vision on defense cooperation for the period of 2015 - 2020, outlining an important roadmap of bilateral cooperation. The two countries have closely coordinated all dimensions of security cooperation, including traditional and non-traditional security; anti-terrorism, fight against transnational high-tech crime and strengthening of cyber security. India has provided Vietnam US$ 600 million (US$ 100 million and US$ 500 million) credit line to enhance defense procurement and share experiences at the United Nations’ peacekeeping force.

- For economy - trade

India is now one of the top ten trading partners of Vietnam and Vietnam is India’s 4th largest trading partner within the ASEAN. The two-way trade turnover increases by 16% per year on average and in 2015 it reached over US$5 billion. Both sides have committed to trade diversification and the identification of new areas of expansion in order to reach a turnover of US$15 billion by 2020.

Vietnam is becoming an attractive investment destination for Indian enterprises. By September 2016, India had 131 projects valued over US$700 million, ranking 25th among countries and territories investing in Vietnam. After India’s TATA group launches the $2 billion Long Phu II Thermal Power Project in Soc Trang, the nation’s total capital invested in Vietnam will multiply.

- For energy cooperation

India has boosted its cooperation with Vietnam in both oil and gas. Apart from three offshore oil fields which India’s ONGC Videsk (OVL) is currently exploring, the Vietnamese Government has invited India to explore five other oil fields in the country’s exclusive economic zone in the East Sea. Both sides have also strengthened cooperation in such areas as electrification, power, and renewable energy.

- For culture, education, science, technology and people’s diplomacy

The governments of both Vietnam and India have coordinated to implement meaningful programs such as art troupe exchange, publications, film and other cultural festivals, as well as painting exhibitions of the nations and their people. The Indian Government has great regard for cultural cooperation and public outreach. The newly opened Indian Cultural Center in Hanoi will be significant in introducing many hidden values of one of the most diverse and interesting cultures in the world to the Vietnamese people, especially to the young generation.

Each year, India provides 150 Vietnamese students with graduate and undergraduate scholarships in the fields of social sciences, humanities and technology. India has helped Vietnam establish information technology and educational facilities such as the English Training Center at Vietnam Defense Institute, the Vocational Training Center in Ho Chi Minh City, and the Center for High-Performance Computing at Hanoi University of Science and Technology.

Cooperation has also been promoted in relationto science and technology. During Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Vietnam in September 2016, both sides signed seven agreements which included the construction of a remote sensing, receiving and processing station in Vietnam within the ASEAN framework; support, training and equipment on nuclear, remote sensing, biology, pharmacy, renewable energy and the use of nuclear energy for peaceful purposes.

People’s exchanges between the two countries have also been strengthened via the promotion of tourism, delegation exchange at the local level; promotion and establishment of friendly relations between both countries’ major cities; seminar organization, and talks on the bilateral relationship.

The Indian Government has placed the new context and vision of this bilateral relationship in the country’s Act East policy framework, which plays a critical role in terms of history, geography and economic space and strategy where both countries are concerned. Vietnam is the coordinator between ASEAN and India for the period of 2015 - 2018. It will likely play an important role in international forums such as ASEAN - India, East Asia Summit (EAS), Mekong - Ganga Cooperation; Asia - Europe Meeting (ASEM); United Nations cooperation and South-South cooperation.

Looking at the present relationship between these two countries, one must admit that, in some areas, the results of this bilateral cooperation are still limited compared to the potential and expectations of each country, which requires a new vision and a new approach. Besides objective factors, such as the aftershock of the global financial - economic crisis, the new regional context and enormous, profound, complicated and unpredictable world changes, subjective factors such as lack of information, especially in regards to science and technology, market information, geographic distance, cultural differences, psychology, habits, etc... are barriers for developing cooperation.

For the past 45 years, Vietnam and India have built a good cooperative relationship with high political confidence. However, to fully realize a comprehensive strategic partnership requires a sense of responsibility, enthusiasm, mutual understanding via forums, especially scientific forums, and above all, sharp and dynamic thinking. Development limitations come from people themselves, from methods of organization, institutions’ rules of operation and the building mechanisms for each task. Therefore, a scientific conference organization which attracts the full participation of scientists from both countries to discuss, exchange, propose and recommend issues relating to the great topic of Vietnam - India relationship is essential.

For the successful outcome of the conference, I would like to invite delegates, distinguished guests and scientists to focus on discussing the major contents as follows:

1. To analyze and evaluate the actual situation, affirming the achievements during 45 years of established diplomatic relationship and 10 years of strategic partnership between Vietnam and India in the areas of politics, diplomacy, economy-trade, defence-security, energy, education, science, technology and people’s diplomacy.

2. To analyze and assess limitations and barriers due to subjective and objective causes affecting Vietnam-India relationship; estimate prospects for Vietnam-India cooperation relationship in the future.

3. To inquire into the development of Vietnam-India relationship and how it affects both countries’ development and the peace, stability, and development of the region and the world.

4. To propose solutions and recommendations, providing scientific arguments for renewing lines, policies, and agreements to contribute and promote the Vietnam-India cooperation.

5. To train and foster institutional leaders of the Party, State and political organizations of the country; to lead institutional research on political science, social sciences, and humanities; to inquire into what the Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics should do to contribute to further develop Vietnam-India partnership.

We all know that reasonable and optimal policies must be based on the reliability of scientific arguments. Personally, I believe this scientific conference to be a great opportunity to exchange and propose various useful scientific ideas, which will contribute to further promote Vietnam-India cooperation for the development and prosperity of each country as well as for the peace, stability, and development of the region and the world.

Prof., Dr. Nguyen Xuan Thang

Member of the Party Central Committee,

Party Secretary, President of Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics 

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