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Wary of China, India and Vietnam agree to expand security and energy partnership in the Indo-Pacific

A file image of Prime Minister Narendra Modi with Vietnam's PM Pham Minh Chinh on the sidelines of COP26 in Glasgow (Image courtesy: PIB)

With China's threat looming in the background, India and Vietnam have announced several new tie-ups in science, trade, healthcare, energy, information and communications technology as well as defence and security.

A parliamentary delegation led by Chairman of National Assembly of Vietnam Vuong Dinh Hue is currently visiting India and has met top ministers over the past few days and also called on Vice President and Chairman of Rajya Sabha, M Venkaiah Naidu on Friday.  

India Vietnam

While highlighting India's long-standing energy partnership, Naidu stated that India's ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) has over a three-decade long presence in Vietnam's offshore energy projects and is keen on seeking a 15-year extension of the existing arrangement beyond May 2023 when the current MOU between OVL and Petro-Vietnam (PVN) expires.

The Vice President also spoke about India and Vietnam's common historical and civilizational links through their shared heritage of Buddhism and Cham traditions.

Recalling the recent finding of a 9th century monolithic Shiva Linga by the Archaeological Survey of India's experts, Naidu mentioned India's contribution to the restoration of Vietnam's cultural marvels, including the My Son temple complex.

Naidu also expressed that India is looking forward to continuing working closely with Vietnam in line with the strong convergence between India's Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) and ASEAN's Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP).

India Vietnam

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar, while welcoming the Vietnamese delegation in New Delhi on Friday, said that the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries has grown substantially in the last five years.

Hoping that the 'ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement' that is under review will help expand economic ties, Jaishankar pointed out that the trade between the two countries crossed the US$ 10 billion mark in 2020 and is likely to exceed US$ 12 billion this year. 

"As political and security partners, India and Vietnam have converging interests in a multi-polar and rebalancing world. We have been supportive of each other's objectives, whether in ASEAN-led forums or on global platforms. Our cooperation in the UN Security Council this year has been exemplary," said the minister.

Recalling the virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc on December 21 last year, Jaishankar emphasised that both leaders had raised the bar by putting forward a 'Joint Vision for Peace, Prosperity and People'.


Jaishankar detailed how India's Act East Policy has been the guiding principle of the country's engagements with ASEAN partners with Vietnam being no exception.

"The success of this policy has led us to adopt a larger Indo-Pacific approach that captures India's growing strategic interests more effectively. From the Indian perspective, Vietnam is a key partner both in the ASEAN and the Indo-Pacific context," he said.  

The minister also said that both India and Vietnam are "fiercely independent" societies which remain deeply committed to maintaining their freedom of choices. "These traits make us the foundation of a multi-polar Asia in the coming years," he maintained.

Friday also witnessed the signing of several Memorandum of Understandings (MoU) between the two countries.

Science and Technology Minister Jitendra Singh held delegation-level talks with Vietnam's Natural Resources and Environment Minister Tran Hong Ha following which the first-ever MoU aimed at promoting scientific and technical cooperation in marine science and ecology was signed between the two countries.


As part of the five-year MoU, the two countries will facilitate the exchange of scientists, researchers, technical expertise, projects, and information in marine science and technology. They will also assist each other in enhancing knowledge, fundamental research, and understanding for the larger benefit of ocean health and resources.

It also heralds yet another horizon to various resources to enrich the Blue Economy. Highlighting the 'Deep Ocean Mission', Singh said that India has emerged as one of the frontline nations in marine scientific research under PM Modi and is now actively engaged in exploring the resourceful ocean bed for meeting the country's future energy and metal demands.

Rajeev Chandrasekhar, Minister of State for Entrepreneurship, Skill Development, Electronics and Technology also signed an agreement with Vietnam's Minister for Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung to extend India-Vietnam cooperation in the field of Information Technology.  

The MoU intends to foster active cooperation and exchange between private entities, governments, institutions involved in enhancing capacity building and other public and private organisations of the two countries in the field of Information and Communications Technology (ICT).

A 'Letter of Intent' (LoI) for enhanced cooperation in the Postal Sector was also signed after Friday's meeting between Minister of State for Communications Devusinh Chauhan and Vietnam's Minister of Information and Communications Nguyen Manh Hung.

Another LoI was signed between Minister of Information and Broadcasting Anurag Thakur and Nguyen Manh Hung on collaboration in the fields of digital media which envisages sharing of information and experience in establishing policies and regulatory frameworks on digital media and social networks.

Minister of State for Culture Meenakashi Lekhi also met Vietnam's Minister of Culture, Sports and Tourism Nguyen Van Hung to discuss various cultural cooperation issues.

Also Read: India and Vietnam agree to make ASEAN stronger and more integrated