Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma said the above in an interview with the Communist Party of Vietnam Online Newspaper reporter, on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations between Vietnam and India (January 7, 1972 - January 7, 2022), on the cooperation relationship between the two countries over the past 50 years and the prospects for the bilateral relations development in the coming years.

Reporter: As Indian Ambassador to Vietnam, what is your assessment of Vietnam-India relations over the past 50 years?

Ambassador Pranay Verma: India and Vietnam have civilizational connections. This ancient relationship became a formal diplomatic relationship in 1972. Since then, our leadership has given specific policies to orient the development and take this special relationship to new heights. In 2016, during the visit of Prime Minister Modi to Hanoi, the two countries elevated their diplomatic relationship to the level of Comprehensive Strategic Relationship.

The last fifty years have been a remarkable journey of togetherness, as both India and Vietnam have overcome difficulties to pursue nation-building and socio-economic transformation. Today, our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership spans multiple fields – from political engagement to trade and investment ties, energy cooperation, development partnership, defence and security cooperation and people-to-people relations.

The wide-ranging development of our ties is largely attributable to our commitment to take a long-term and strategic view of our relationship based on deep mutual trust and understanding, as well as our mutual appreciation for each other’s national development. Our converging visions for, and our common interest in, peace, stability and prosperity also provide a strong basis for our growing engagement.

Indian Ambassador to Vietnam (Photo: Indian Embassy in Vietnam)

Reporter: During the past 2 years, the COVID-19 pandemic has had a huge impact on the entire world. How did it affect Vietnam-India bilateral relations? What were India’s measures to promote bilateral relations during the pandemic?

Ambassador Pranay Verma: The last two years have been a satisfactory journey of partnership for growth between India and Vietnam, despite pandemic induced complexities. We continued to exchange visits at the level of senior leadership. India received Chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue in December 2021 and the then Vice President Mme. Dang Thi Ngoc Thinh in February 2020. Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi met Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh in Glasgow on the sideline of the COP-26. India’s External Affairs Minister Dr S Jaishankar met Foreign Minister of Vietnam Bui Thanh Son in September 2021 in New York on the sidelines of the UNGA session.

I would like to especially mention the Bilateral Virtual Summit held on December 21st, 2020 between our two Prime Ministers in which they adopted the historic “Joint Vision for Peace, Prosperity and People”. Since then, it has been the guiding principles for all future bilateral collaboration.

Reporter: Could you evaluate the prospects for bilateral cooperation between Vietnam and India in the coming time? According to you, which fields of cooperation should the two countries prioritize during the post-pandemic period?

Ambassador Pranay Verma: The India-Vietnam relationship is full of promise. This makes me optimistic about this relationship’s future.  We are two aspirational societies with very youthful demography. Our development visions have many overlapping areas. We are two rapidly growing economies. We both are committed to overcoming shared challenges like climate change and poverty, to achieve sustainable and comprehensive development.  We have similar views on many regional and international issues, which create significant grounds for closer cooperation on the regional and international stage. We both are committed to international law and believe that India-Vietnam cooperation provides a factor of stability in our shared Indo-Pacific region.

On the ground, we have been working with the Vietnamese Ministries and institutions to offer our expertise in traditional collaboration fields, including agriculture, pharma, education, and S&T. In addition, we have identified new and emerging fields, such as space, civil nuclear cooperation, IT, and marine science for collaboration. I would like to highlight that during the recent visit of Chairman of Vietnam’s National Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue (December 16-19, 2021), India’s Ministry of Earth Sciences and Vietnam’s Ministry of Natural Resources and Environment signed a MoU for cooperation in the field of marine science.

The bilateral defence cooperation has evolved as one of the key pillars of our strategic cooperation in recent years. Our defence forces maintain constant exchanges; the ship visits are happening on regular intervals. We have been working to support bilateral defence industry cooperation through two defence Lines of Credit extended to Vietnam.

In addition, we are committed to promoting greater people-to-people exchanges. We will work on resuming the direct flights launched in 2019 to facilitate travel of people from both sides to each other’s country.

Reporter: Could you share about the activities that India and Vietnam are planning to celebrate the 50th anniversary of diplomatic relations?

Ambassador Pranay Verma: We have been working to organize many commemorative events in 2022 across Vietnam, including in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City, Da Nang and Nha Trang, to celebrate this milestone. These events will comprise conferences, cultural festivals, food festivals, Indian Film Weeks, the organization of India-Vietnam Day in many educational institutes, and cultural performances by the cultural troops from India. We have planned to organize International Day of Yoga in June in several places.

Vietnam-India Friendship Organizations based in Hanoi, Ho Chi Minh City and Da Nang have been collaborating in our above endeavors. In this regard, I would like to mention the special programme which was hosted by VUFO on January 6, in which senior leadership from both sides witnessed the launching of a yearlong celebration of commemorative events.

I am sure that with these events, we will be able to give due recognition to this important milestone in a befitting manner./.

Reporter: thank you very much./.

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