Oxygen concentrators and ventilators from Vietnam being off loaded in New Delhi early Friday morning (All images courtesy: MEA, Govt Committee for Religious Affairs, Vietnam and Indian Embassy in Vietnam)
As India battles a deadly wave of Covid-19 pandemic, the first consignment of 50 oxygen concentrators and 109 ventilators arrived in New Delhi from Vietnam in the early hours of Friday even as over 700 boarding nuns at the Vietnam Buddhist Institute's Thanh Tam Pagoda in Ho Chi Minh city continue to hold special prayers for the well-being of Indians affected from coronavirus.
"Valuable contribution from one of our closest partners — reinforcing a long tradition of helping each other during difficult times. Thanks government and people Vietnam for this gesture," India's External Affairs ministry tweeted on Friday.
Meanwhile, several thousand of miles away, ceremonies are being held at Thanh Tam Pagoda with the nuns lighting candles, reciting the name of Bodhisattva Guanyin and the Great Compassion mantras during their special 'prayer for India', asking for divine blessings of the Buddha and the Bodhisattva.
India and Vietnam, with historical roots in the common struggle for liberation from colonial rule and the national struggle for independence, have always shared traditionally close and cordial bilateral relations.
During their virtual summit on December 21 last year, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Prime Minister of Vietnam, had laid down a joint vision for peace, prosperity and people to guide the future development of India-Vietnam comprehensive strategic partnership.
Both leaders had also vowed to encourage experience-sharing and cooperation in the management of Covid-19 pandemic, support online training of health professionals, forge institutional cooperation in vaccine development, promote open supply chains, facilitate essential cross-border movement of people, and maintain close contact and coordination in multilateral bodies like the World Health Organisation (WHO).
As it has been witnessed during the following months, the cooperation during Covid-19 pandemic has taken the relationship between the two countries to a new high.
On May 3, the Central Executive Council of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha (VBS) had released a dispatch calling on Buddhists to offer practical contributions for helping Buddhists and people affected by the current wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in India.
In separate ceremonies held on May 11 and 12, Vietnam-India Friendship Association (VIFA) and VBS announced the gifting of 200 ventilators and 50 oxygen concentrators as expressions of solidarity towards the people of India in their fight against the Covid pandemic.
Earlier this week, on Tuesday, Thich Thien Nhon, President of the VBS Executive Committee, handed over 75 oxygen concentrators to Dr. Madan Mohan Sethi, the Consul General of India in Ho Chi Minh city, as a symbol of friendship and humanitarian gesture from Vietnam Buddhists.
The two sides are also exploring new and practical collaborations to build capacities in blue economy, maritime security and safety, marine environment and sustainable use of maritime resources, and maritime and road connectivity through the India-Myanmar-Thailand Trilateral Highway, in order to ensure security and growth for all in the region.
"The Lines of Credit which enabled us to cooperate with Vietnam in the defence industry moved forward with new achievements, as we delivered the first high-speed guard boats last year to the Vietnam Border Guard Command. Our military medical teams also stayed in close contact to discuss ways to deal with Covid pandemic. So, overall, there has been a very purposeful and positive intent to engage despite the disruptions of the pandemic," Pranay Verma, Ambassador of India to Vietnam said during a webinar 'India-Vietnam Conjunctions: Connect to Reconnect' organised by the MEA, earlier this month.