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Ambassador’s Remarks at the 1st India-Vietnam Virtual Workshop on Coastal Erosion and Protection

Posted on: March 24, 2021 | Back | Print

I am happy to join this Virtual Workshop on the issue of Coastal Erosion and Protection, being organised jointly by India’s National Centre for Coastal Research (NCCR) under the Ministry of Earth Sciences and the Vietnam Administration of Seas and Islands (VASI) under the Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment of Vietnam (MONRE).

The event has been made possible due to our growing engagement with MONRE and VASI, and the keen interest shown by our NCCR and Ministry of Earth Sciences in taking forward some of the initial ideas discussed by the Embassy with VASI. We sincerely thank both NCCR and VASI for their active support.

Today’s workshop is also part of our long tradition of capacity building partnership with Vietnam. As a close friend and partner, we always stand ready to share our developmental experiences with Vietnam.

In addition, this initiative is reflective of the depth and width of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership, where we are engaging with Vietnam in multi-faceted collaborations, including in science and technology, IT, civil nuclear energy, space applications, etc.

Our maritime exchanges add an important dimension to our engagement.

India and Vietnam are maritime countries with long coastlines. The quality of our coastal and marine ecologies, therefore, have a direct bearing on our nations’ socio-economic development, given the support they provide for habitat and livelihood to a large section of our population.

Impact of climate change and other factors have created new challenges in preserving and protecting our marine environment. Coastal erosion is one of those challenges.

The workshop today, therefore in a way, is also a manifestation of our emerging cooperation with Vietnam in climate change adaptation and meeting sustainable development goals.

Today’s discussions will also fit in well with India’s Indo-Pacific Ocean Initiative (IPOI) which was announced by our Prime Minister at the East Asia Summit in 2019.

The IPOI provides a detailed template for cooperation in the Indo-Pacific region, foremost with our ASEAN partners, for solutions to common challenges being faced by our region.

To translate this vision of collaboration into practical action, the IPOI provides for partnership-based cooperation across seven verticals – maritime ecology; maritime security; marine resources; capacity building & resource sharing; disaster risk reduction and management; science, technology and academic cooperation; and trade, connectivity and maritime transport.

Our discussions today touch upon many of those pillars – most obviously, the pillars of maritime ecology, capacity building, and Science and Technology. However, we believe that issues like coastal erosion, which can result in loss of habitat and threats to water resources, are equally part of the non-traditional challenges to our maritime security.

We are happy that ASEAN countries, including Vietnam, have come up with their own Outlook on the Indo-Pacific (AOIP), which is broadly similar to our Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative. The four priority areas of ASEAN’s AOIP – which are maritime partnerships, Sustainable Development Goals, connectivity, and economic partnership – overlap very nicely with India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative. 

We are hopeful that the convergences between ASEAN’s AOIP and India’s IPOI will provide a useful roadmap to deepen our cooperation in many areas of our shared maritime interests.

I am happy that today we are making a beginning in that direction.

The workshop today will give experts on both sides an opportunity to have an in-depth exchange to deal with coastal erosion and related complexities.

We also hope that today’s event leads to more concrete ideas about practical cooperation in this field by exchanging information and best practices, as well as for continuing our engagement in other areas.

To ensure the sustainability of these engagements, we are happy that both NCCR and VASI are exploring a long-term cooperation MOU, which will generate opportunities for more collaborative projects.

Our Embassy will extend all necessary facilitation to ensure that this MOU is concluded at the earliest. To this end, we look forward to working closely with VASI and MONRE in the coming days.

We are also happy that this important initiative is being rolled out at the beginning of an important year, when we are going to celebrate or prepare for celebration three important milestones – the 5th anniversary of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership with Vietnam, the 50th anniversary of India-Vietnam diplomatic relations in January 2022 and the 75th anniversary of India’s Independence.

I once again commend NRRC and VASI and all their experts present today, either in person or on-line, for your efforts and time to make today’s event possible. I wish you all a productive and rewarding discussion.

Thank you.