New Delhi: Prime Minister of India, Narendra Modi, and Prime Minister of Vietnam, Nguyen Xuan Phuc, co-chaired a Virtual Summit on 21st December 2020. According to a press statement from the Indian Prime Minister’s Office (PMO), during the Summit, they exchanged views on wide-ranging bilateral, regional, and global issues and set forth the following Joint Vision for Peace, Prosperity and People to guide the future development of India – Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership:
1. Reaffirming their mutual desire to further strengthen their Comprehensive Strategic Partnership as, the leaders agreed to step up regular high-level and institutionalised exchanges building upon the foundations of deep-rooted historical and cultural bonds, shared values and interests, mutual strategic trust and understanding, and shared commitment to international law. They will add new substance and impetus to bilateral cooperation in all areas of engagement, support each other’s national development and work towards achieving a peaceful, stable, secure, free, open, inclusive and rules-based region.
2. Recognising the important role of their cooperation amidst the emerging geopolitical and geoeconomic landscape in the region and beyond, the leaders, as per the PMO statement, agreed that enhanced defence and security partnership between India and Vietnam will be an important factor of stability in the Indo-Pacific region. To this end, the two sides will step up their military-to-military exchanges, training, and capacity building programmes across the three services and coast guards and will intensify their defence industry collaboration building on India’s defence credit lines extended to Vietnam. They will further institutionalise defence exchanges through mutual logistics support, regular ship visits, joint exercises, exchanges in military science & technology, information sharing, and cooperation in UN peacekeeping. Both sides will engage more closely through institutionalised dialogue mechanisms in dealing with traditional and non-traditional security threats in cyber and maritime domains, terrorism, natural disasters, health security, water security, transnational crimes etc. including through enhanced legal and judicial cooperation, where required.
3. Underlining the link between prosperity and security, the leaders reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, while pursuing the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), without resorting to threat or use of force. Both leaders underscored the importance of non-militarisation and self-restraint in the conduct of all activities by claimants and all other states, and avoidance of actions that could further complicate the situation or escalate disputes affecting peace and stability. Both leaders emphasised the legal framework set out by the UNCLOS within which all activities in the oceans and seas must be carried out, and that UNCLOS is the basis for determining maritime entitlements, sovereign rights, jurisdiction and legitimate interests over maritime zones. Both leaders further called for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) in its entirety and the substantive negotiations towards the early conclusion of a substantive and effective Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC) in accordance with international law, especially UNCLOS, that does not prejudice the legitimate rights and interests of all nations including those not party to these negotiations.
4. According to the PMO statement, noting the importance of ASEAN-India cooperation in sustaining peace, security, and prosperity in the region, the leaders welcome the opportunities to foster practical cooperation between ASEAN and India in the key areas and in line with the objectives and principles as stated in the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI) to further promote partnership in the Indo-Pacific region, including their shared focus on ASEAN-centrality. The two sides will also explore new and practical collaborations to build capacities in blue economy, maritime security and safety, marine environment and sustainable use of maritime resources, and maritime connectivity, in order to ensure security and growth for all in the region.
5. Deriving strength from commonalities in their approaches and views on regional and global issues, their shared respect for international law and rules-based order, and their belief in inclusivity and equity in the global discourse, both sides will strengthen multilateral and regional cooperation, including in the United Nations, ASEAN-led mechanisms and Mekong sub-regional cooperation. The two sides will actively promote reformed multilateralism to make international organisations, including the UN Security Council, more representative, contemporary and capable of dealing with current challenges. They will encourage experience-sharing and cooperation in the management of Covid-19 pandemic, support on-line 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 WHO.
6. Recognising the threat emanating from terrorism, violent extremism, and radicalism to world peace and humanity, their resolve to combat terrorism in all its forms and manifestations, including cross-border terrorism, terror financing networks and safe havens, will be put into action through greater coordination in bilateral, regional and global efforts. The two sides will step up joint efforts in building a strong consensus for early adoption of the Comprehensive Convention on International Terrorism (CCIT).
7. Acknowledging the new challenges as well as opportunities brought upon by COVID-19 pandemic, the two sides will work towards reliable, efficient and resilient supply chains, and will promote human-centric globalisation. They will strive to achieve the target of US$15 billion of trade turnover at the earliest and will set higher levels of ambition for bilateral trade based on a concrete plan of action and new supply chains located in each other’s country.
8. Recognising the strong complementarities between India’s large domestic market and the vision of self-reliance on the one hand and Vietnam’s growing economic vitality and capabilities on the other, both sides will constantly upgrade their bilateral economic engagement by facilitating long-term investments in each other’s economy, promoting joint ventures, engaging in new global value chains, enhancing physical and digital connectivity, encouraging e-Commerce, facilitating business travels, upgrading regional trading architecture, and mutually providing greater market access. New horizons for partnership created by India’s goal to become a US$5 trillion economy by 2024 and Vietnam’s ambition to become a high-income economy by 2045 will be fully explored for all segments of economy, including MSMEs and farming communities of the two countries.
9. Underlining the shared quest for progress and prosperity as two emerging economies with a young population, the economic and development partnership between India and Vietnam will be increasingly driven by the promise of new technologies, innovation, and digitisation to deliver good governance, people’s empowerment, and sustainable and inclusive development. To this end, both sides will harness synergies between India’s “Digital India” mission and Vietnam’s “Digital Society” vision, and deepen cooperation in peaceful uses of nuclear and space technologies, transformative technologies in Information and Communication Technology, ocean sciences, sustainable agriculture, water resource management, holistic healthcare, vaccines and pharmaceuticals, smart cities and start-ups.
10. Reaffirming their shared commitment to sustainable development and climate action, while addressing their energy security as developing countries, both sides will partner in new and renewable energy resources, energy conservation and other climate-resilient technologies. Vietnam’s possible future participation in International Solar Alliance would bring new opportunities for cooperation in large scale deployment of solar energy. At the same time, the two sides will further strengthen their long-standing partnership in the oil and gas sector, including through possible exploration projects in third countries and collaboration in downstream projects. Both sides will strengthen cooperation in adaptation to climate change and to this end, India looks forward to Vietnam’s joining the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure in the near future.
11. Recognising the important role played by their Development Partnership in delivering concrete and diverse benefits to local communities and thus contributing to Sustainable Development Goals, India’s development assistance and capacity building outreach in Vietnam will be further reinforced, including by expanding the Mekong – Ganga Quick Impact Projects and ITEC and e-ITEC programmes in diverse sectors.
12. Emphasising the deep cultural and historical bonds between India and Vietnam, the two sides will commemorate and promote understanding and research of their shared cultural and civilisational heritage, including Buddhist and Cham cultures, traditions and ancient scriptures. Cooperation in the conservation of shared cultural heritage will be pursued as a key pillar of their development partnership. Traditional systems of medicine are of great significance for both countries in achieving the Sustainable Development Goal 2 and 3. Owing to cultural exchange between the two countries for past thousands of years, the traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda and Vietnam-Traditional Medicine share many common threads of rich knowledge of health. Yoga has emerged as a symbol of peace and harmony and shared pursuit of spiritual wellbeing and happiness. Both the countries are committed to cooperating on strengthening the traditional systems of medicine and their evidence-based integration for the well-being of people. Both sides will actively cooperate to publish an Encyclopaedia of India – Vietnam Cultural and Civilisational Relations to mark the 50th anniversary of India – Vietnam diplomatic relations in 2022.
13. Recognising the strength and support their relationship derives from the mutually friendly sentiments of peoples of the two countries, the two sides will intensify efforts to promote closer people-to-people exchanges by increasing direct flights, providing ease of travelling through simplified visa procedures and facilitating tourism. They will further strengthen and institutionalise linkages such as Parliamentary exchanges; relations between Indian States and Vietnamese Provinces; exchanges between political parties, social organisations, friendship groups and youth organisations; the collaboration between educational and academic institutions; engagement between think tanks; joint research programmes; educational scholarships; and exchanges in media, film, TV shows and sports. They will also facilitate cooperation between respective agencies on the two sides to promote contents related to India – Vietnam relations and their historical links in each other’s school textbooks.
14. Both Prime Ministers expressed confidence that their above-shared Vision will serve as a cornerstone for a new era of India – Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. In order to realise this vision, concrete Plans of Action will be worked out by the two sides periodically, beginning that for 2021-2023.
(a) While adopting this Joint Vision Statement, both Leaders welcomed the signing of Plan of Action for period 2021-2023.
(b) Both Prime Ministers expressed satisfaction over the successful implementation of the High Speed Guard Boat (HSGB) Manufacturing Project for Vietnam Border Guard Command under the US$ 100 million Defence Line of Credit extended by Government of India to Vietnam, and the handing over of completed HSGB to Vietnam, launch of HSGBs manufactured in India and the keel laying of HSGBs manufactured in Vietnam.
(c) Both Leaders appreciated the completion of seven Development Projects with Indian ‘Grant-in-Aid’ Assistance of US$ 1.5 million for the benefit of local community in Vietnam’s Ninh Thuan province.
(d) Both Prime Ministers also expressed satisfaction over signing of MOUs/Agreements/Implementing Arrangements as well as Announcements for further strengthening bilateral cooperation in various spheres as listed below:
MoUs & Agreements signed:
1. Implementing Arrangement on Defence Industry Cooperation.
2. Agreement for US$ 5 million Indian Grant Assistance for Army Software Park at National Telecommunications University, Nha Trang.
3. Implementing Arrangement between CUNPKO-VNDPKO for Cooperation in United Nation Peacekeeping.
4. MOU between India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board and Vietnam Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety.
5. MOU between CSIR-Indian Institute of Petroleum and Vietnam Petroleum Institute.
6. MOU between National Solar Federation of India and Vietnam Clean Energy Association.
7. MOU between Tata Memorial Centre and Vietnam National Cancer Hospital.
1. Enhancing the number of Quick Impact Projects from currently 5 per year to 10 per year commencing FY 2021-2022.
2. New Development Partnership projects in heritage conservation in Vietnam (F-block of Temple at My Son; Dong Duong Buddhist Monastery in Quang Nam and Nhan Cham Tower in Phu Yen).
3 Launch of a bilateral project for Encyclopedia on India – Vietnam Civilisational and Cultural Interactions.
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