Vietnam-India ties to play increasingly important role in region, world: Ambassador

Update: 10:21 | 01/10/2019
Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma has granted an interview on the occasion of the 150th birthday anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi, a national hero of India who led India in the struggle for national independence.
TIN LIÊN QUAN
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Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma at the interview.

He has talked about the similarities in the ideologies of Gandhi and Vietnam’s President Ho Chi Minh, the achievements and prospects of the India-Vietnam relationship, and his priorities during his working term in Vietnam.

The following is the full text of the interview.

Mahatma Gandhi and President Ho Chi Minh have similar ideology in staying along with their colonized people against enemies. From this ideology, how have generations of leaders of Vietnam and India built and strengthened the relation between two countries? What can we do to spread out this beautiful ideology of Mahatma Gandhi and President Ho Chi Minh?

Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals of truth, non-violence, and human dignity and freedom, inspired the anti-colonial movement in many countries in Asia and Africa, including the freedom struggle in Vietnam led by President Ho Chi Minh.

Both Mahatma Gandhi and President Ho Chi Minh, with their inspirational leadership, gave our people the courage and confidence to overcome adversities and rise with fortitude against formidable colonial powers.

The shared history of struggle for independence from colonial rule and the visionary leadership of our founding fathers remain the bedrock of strong bonds of friendship and mutual affection between our two countries and our peoples, ever since the emergence of India and Vietnam as independent nations.

The successive generation of our leaders have nurtured and consolidated this bond, as our relationship transcended from post-colonial solidarity to the new era of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

We are celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year. Last year, we marked the 60th anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh’s visit to India. These are important occasions for us to reaffirm the values and ideals espoused by the two great leaders.

Our Embassy has organised a number of events in the last one year to showcase the life and message of Mahatma Gandhi. Our scholars, academicians, media – all are playing an important role in highlighting these messages and their continued relevance today.

On September 24, Prime Minister Modi spoke in the United Nations on the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi in the contemporary world and highlighted his message of humanism, freedom, self-reliance and his values of non-violence and respect for nature, which continue to provide us solutions to the problems being faced by the world today.

Over 46 years since the establishment of the diplomatic relations between two countries (1973-2019), Vietnam and India have achieved much impressive development in many areas. Can you evaluate some prominent achievements in the relation between two countries and potential in near future?

Today, India-Vietnam relations are characterized as Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.

It covers multifaceted engagement in diverse areas – ranging from political engagement to trade and investment ties, energy cooperation, development partnership, defence and security cooperation and people-to-people relations.

This wide range of engagement itself reflects the special relationship we share and the depth of our mutual trust and understanding.

Our bilateral trade has doubled in the last three years alone and is likely to reach 15 billion USD by 2020. Our business and industries are looking at opportunities in each other’s country with greater expectations.

We are also building new partnerships in emerging sectors such as information and communication technology, renewable energy, innovation etc. The young demography of both our countries opens new opportunities for cooperation in diverse sectors.

India’s development partnership with Vietnam over the last four and half decades has left a successful legacy and institution building and human resource development. We will do more to bring our projects and programmes closer to the people. We will also promote greater capacity building through our flagship ITEC (Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation) programme, in which Vietnam is one of our major partners.

Our defence partnership has expanded into areas such as defence industrial and technological cooperation. This will open newer opportunities.

In the regional and global context, India and Vietnam regularly consult with each other and share similar views on many important issues. Most importantly, we have developed a long-term strategic view of our relationship based on the vision for peace and prosperity of our shared Indo-Pacific region.

Vietnam is pivotal to India’s Act East Policy and its Indo-Pacific vision. Vietnam is also an invaluable link in India’s engagement with ASEAN.

As Vietnam assumes the Chairmanship of ASEAN next year and joins the UN Security Council as a non-permanent member, we will further enhance our consultations and coordination with Vietnam on important regional and international issues.

As Ambassador of India to Vietnam from August 2019, can you share some of your feelings about Ha Noi and Vietnam? What are your priorities in your tenure in Vietnam?

I arrived in Ha Noi two months ago.

What has struck me most is the warmth of the people of Vietnam and their enthusiasm and confidence about their future. The whole nation exudes the dynamism that reflects its status as one of the fastest growing economies in the world.

I have also been deeply impressed by an overwhelmingly positive sentiment towards India and a reaffirmation of our long tradition of supporting each other’s national development and aspirations.

During my tenure in Vietnam, I would wish to focus on bringing our people closer together through better connectivity. This will also be key to enhancing our tourism as well as trade and economic ties. Our common Buddhist heritage offers a significant attraction for the people of Vietnam and we can build on this theme in a big way. We hope that the expected launch of direct flights staring in October will be a good beginning in this direction.

We would also like to deepen our development partnership and make a tangible contribution to the socio-economic development of people.

Developing closer defence and security partnership as well as constantly promoting consultations on important regional and global issues are other priority areas.

We will also be keen to promote practical regional cooperation with Vietnam under the rubric of our Indo-Pacific vision.

Overall, I remain highly optimistic of the future of our relationship and believe that as two important countries of the Indo-Pacific and as two of the fastest growing economies, our relations are destined to play an increasingly important role in the region and in the world.

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(Source: VNA)