Vietnam Holds Significant Role in India’s Act East Policy

India and Vietnam share a common long-term interest in maintaining peace, stability, and development in the Indo-Pacific region, said Indian lower house leader.
December 17, 2021 | 14:09
Vietnam Holds Significant Role in India’s Act East Policy
Dr. Rajaram Panda, senior researcher at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library. (Photo: VNA)

Vietnam is the fulcrum in the ASEAN grouping for India to execute its Act East Policy, Dr. Rajaram Panda, senior researcher at the Nehru Memorial Museum and Library, told the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue’s official visit to India.

“Without Vietnam’s active support and cooperation, India would have felt constrained to execute many of the projects as a part of its Act East Policy,” Panda affirmed, adding that Vietnam is a very willing partner in this policy. “Among the ten ASEAN member grouping, I think India’s relationship with Vietnam is something special,” he added.

Regarding the visit of NA Chairman Hue to India, he stated that this visit sends a very powerful message to the world, that India and Vietnam are on the same page on many regional issues and cooperate closely in the changing regional and international situations.

For the South China Sea (Bien Dong Sea) issue, the Indian scholar emphasized that the East Sea is actually the main concern not only for India and Vietnam but also for many other countries in the region because of the way China has been expanding its maritime footprint, island-building and also the militarization of the islands within the South China Sea. These are all matters of concern because the South China Sea is a global common which no country should claim as its own, he said.

He stressed the need for a collective, cooperative understanding amongst countries involved so as to secure the South China Sea for free navigation that will ultimately lead to regional peace and stability, according to VNA.

Vietnam Holds Significant Role in India’s Act East Policy
Speaker of the Lok Sabha (House of Representatives) of India Om Birla. (Photo: India Today)

Earlier, the Speaker of the Lok Sabha (House of Representatives) of India Om Birla said Vietnam is one of the major pillars in India’s Act East Policy and an important factor helping India strengthen its partnership with the ASEAN.

Granting an interview to a Vietnam News Agency correspondent in New Delhi on the occasion of Vietnamese National Assembly Chairman Vuong Dinh Hue’s official visit to India from December 15-19, Birla underlined that the Vietnam-India 50-year ties have been developed on a firm foundation of cultural and civilizational connections as well as strong mutual trust and understanding.

"Over the last 49 to 50 years, our relationship has grown from strength to strength- covering diverse areas of cooperation, such as trade and investment, defense, development partnership, cultural cooperation and people to people exchange," he said, adding that the elevation of ties to a comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016 has helped further consolidate the two countries' close partnership, and has paved the way for future cooperation.

He said he believes that the Vietnamese top legislator’s visit will add momentum to India and Vietnam's tradition of maintaining close parliamentary cooperation.

Vietnam Holds Significant Role in India’s Act East Policy
A welcome ceremony held for Chairman of the Nation Assembly Vuong Dinh Hue at the Palam military airport in New Delhi (Photo: VNA)

According to the Indian legislative leader, over the last two years, the world has been facing unprecedented disruptions brought about by the pandemic, and during those difficult times, India and Vietnam have stood by each other, supplying critical medicines and equipment to support their fight against the pandemic. He added that the two Parliaments also played an important role, guiding and giving direction to these efforts.

Regarding cooperation between the two countries, Birla said that in the framework of the Mekong–Ganga Cooperation, India has implemented several Quick Impact Projects, building community-level infrastructure, which is directly benefiting the people of Vietnam.

He went on to say that many Vietnamese students have benefited from scholarships to study in India, and have contributed to bringing the two countries closer, adding that he hopes more students would come to India utilizing the 1000 Ph.D. fellowships offered to ASEAN countries.

"In the coming times, keeping with the spirit of “Act East Policy”, we also hope to enhance both physical and digital connectivity with Vietnam," Birla said.

He said that India and Vietnam share a common long-term interest in maintaining peace, stability, and development in the Indo-Pacific region, which has been shown in the joint vision for peace, prosperity, and people that was adopted in 2020.

Asked about what Vietnam and India should do to maintain peace, stability, and prosperity in Asia and Indo-Pacific, as well as in the South China Sea, the legislative leader said Vietnam and India have an abiding interest in maintaining peace, stability, and development in the Indo-Pacific region, which is also reflected in the “Joint Vision for Peace, Prosperity, and People” adopted by the two countries in December 2020, when both Prime Ministers participated in the Virtual Summit.

The two countries also share the fundamental principles of respect for international law and rules-based order, adding to the factor of stability in the Indo-Pacific region, he said.

"Therefore, both countries must continue to strengthen their partnership, bilaterally, as well as through ASEAN framework and other multilateral mechanisms," he said.

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