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India’s Independence Day & India-Vietnam comprehensive strategic partnership

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India’s Independence Day & India-Việt Nam comprehensive strategic partnership

Indian Ambassador Sandeep Arya wrote to Việt Nam News on India's Independence Day (August 15)

Today is the culmination of year-long celebrations of 77 years of India’s independence, called “Azadi ka Amrit Mahotsav”, the festival of freedom. It has been an enormous journey from multifarious challenges facing the newly independent nation in 1947 to today’s India. It is a celebration of our progress reflected in our emergence as the fifth largest economy today; technological advances in domains such as information & communications, space, nuclear energy, defence; industrial progress in various sectors; infrastructure-building & socio-economic development of our population that has become the largest in the world at 1.43 billion; 34 million Indian diaspora across the globe excelling in all fields of human endeavour; and our global standing.

India’s achievements thus far conjoin transformational changes and promising trends in terms of economic growth, national developmental strides, unique digital public infrastructure and effective e-governance, and contribution to global processes. Last month, the IMF upgraded India economic growth for 2023 to 6.1% (increase of 0.2% over IMF’s April 2023 estimate) amid moderate global growth, and UNDP’s Multidimensional Poverty Index reported a remarkable reduction of 415 million people exiting poverty in India in the 15 years through 2021. India’s IT exports exceed US$200 billion, we launched this year the 6G telecom vision as well as the 6G research & development test-bed, and next week we expect Indian spacecraft to land on the moon’s South Polar region in its third indigenous lunar mission launched from earth a month ago.

Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Prime Minister Phạm Minh Chính in Hiroshima on May 20, 2023. — Photo courtesy of the embassy

This year, India is steering pressing global issues with a sense of purpose as the G20 President amid a complex international environment. India’s outreach to the Voice of the Global South through a Summit in January 2023 showed our consultative and inclusive approach in chairing the G20. We are glad that the President of Việt Nam participated in the leaders’ session of this Summit hosted by the Indian Prime Minister, Mr. Narendra Modi.

In 2022-23, we celebrated 50 years of diplomatic relations between India and Việt Nam but the steady friendship and solidarity between India and Việt Nam under the exceptional leadership of President Hồ Chí Minh goes back decades before the formalisation of our diplomatic ties in 1972. Over the last seven decades, the two countries navigated their national journeys of growth and development while the international equations evolved constantly, but the India-Việt Nam friendship strengthened continuously irrespective of these changes and it was denominated in 2016 as a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership”. The sound path of progress of India and Việt Nam marked by the strength of their national character, people-level affinity and aspirations, and convergences of our international perspectives and interests convince me of a brighter, stronger future of the friendship and cooperation between us.

Our multifaceted cooperation is guided by the India-Việt Nam joint vision of 2020 for peace, prosperity and people. 2023 has seen meetings between the two Prime Ministers as well as the two Foreign Ministers, bilateral visits of the Ministers of National Defence, Public Security, Agriculture and Rural Development, Justice, President of the Indian Council for Cultural Relations, several heads of provinces, deputy Ministers and senior officials. Politico-strategic trust supports active defence exchanges, military-to-military talks, exercises, training, equipment transfer and a range of technical exchanges between us. We work together in the United Nations, ASEAN-centric structures and various international forums to foster multilateralism, international law and a rules-based order, and an outlook for peace, security and prosperity in the Indo-Pacific.

INS Delhi and INS Satpura port visit to Đà Nẵng on May 19-22, 2023. — Photo courtesy of the embassy

As two rapidly growing nations, economic and business cooperation is the focus of active efforts to lift further the bilateral trade of US$15 billion in 2022 and cumulative Indian investments of about $2 billion. Hundreds of Indian enterprises in Việt Nam are generating economic value in sectors such as consumer goods, automobile sub-systems, sugar & coffee, IT services, mineral processing, hydrocarbons, garments, engineering goods and services such as aviation, banking, food, tourism. New opportunities in energy, infrastructure, electronics & digital technologies and arrangements for facilitating trade, bilateral digital payment transactions, and direct shipping are being discussed. The ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement of 2009 is being reviewed to expand preferential trade measures between us. Growing Civil Aviation is providing a bridge to direct travel and tourism through over 50 flights per week and further expansion is being planned.

Civilisational and cultural ties and people-level warmth and appreciation are a special feature of the India-Việt Nam friendship. The common heritage of Shakyamuni Buddha provides a spiritual underpinning for both of us, and last year, the Archeological Survey of India completed restoration of three temple groups dating back 13 centuries at Mỹ Sơn sanctuary in central Việt Nam. International Day of Yoga this year saw over 35 public practice sessions across Việt Nam with tens of thousands of participants. Ten projects per year in Việt Nam serve communities in various provinces. Cultural troupes, education and training exchanges, and active contacts between our academic institutions enrich our people-level connections.

As we celebrate the festival of freedom in India today, we also work closely with Việt Nam for more dynamic progress in our comprehensive strategic partnership across all domains. —  VNS