The multifarious relations between India and Vietnam are deepening by the day and are branching out in new directions, says an article on the Indian External Affairs Ministry's website on August 25.

The article, written by Indian Writes Network's Editor in Chief Manish Chand, described the relations as a perfect match in many ways between India’s Look East policy and Vietnam’s Look West policy as the two countries aim high to forge closer strategic, economic and energy ties in days to come.

The author noted that the relations between India and Vietnam have been exceptionally friendly, and virtually free of any dissonance or friction. The ties, which go back to the ancient Cham civilisation when people from Orissa travelled to Vietnam and found a hospitable home there, mingling cultures, customs, language and beliefs, were built on robust foundations laid down by India’s first prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru and Vietnam’s iconic leader Ho Chi Minh, and have grown exponentially over the years.

He underlined a new energy and synergy between Asia’s third largest economy and Southeast Asia’s emerging economy. Bilateral trade is estimated to be at 8 billion USD. The two sides are now looking to scale up bilateral trade to 15 billion USD by 2020.

According to the article, Vietnam is an attractive destination for hordes of Indian companies. India has already 68 operational projects in Vietnam worth around 1 billion USD. Indian investments encompass diverse sectors, including oil and gas exploration, mineral exploration and processing, sugar manufacturing, agro-chemicals, IT, and agricultural processing.

Vietnamese companies, too, are stepping up their footprints in India. Vietnam has three investment projects in India with total investment of 23.6 million USD.

The strategic and defence ties between India and Vietnam have acquired a new force and dimension, the article said, noting that advocating a rule-based order and freedom of navigation, India has pressed for the resolution of the South China Sea (which is called East Sea in Vietnam) dispute in accordance with the UN Laws of the Sea. This position was reiterated by India’s external affairs minister at India-ASEAN and ARF meetings in Myanmar. Besides, India and Vietnam see their growing relations as part of the larger drive for regional peace and stability. This is reflected in their close cooperation in a host of regional fora, including ASEAN, East Asia Summit, Mekong Ganga Cooperation and the Asia-Europe Meeting (ASEM).

In addition, India and Vietnam also enjoy a burgeoning development partnership in IT, education and frontier areas of science and technology, the article said, citing India’s provision of credit of around 165 million USD for a host of infrastructure projects and scholarships to hundreds of Vietnamese students annually. India has agreed to help set up the Indira Gandhi High-tech Cyber Forensic Laboratory in Hanoi and a Vietnam-India English and IT Training Centre at the National Defence Academy of Vietnam. Top IT bellwethers, including NIIT, APTECH and Tata Infotech, have opened more than 80 franchised centers spread all across Vietnam. In November last year, India gifted a high-power supercomputer to Vietnam.

With the first direct flight between Delhi and Ho Chi Minh City set to take off in November, people-to-people contacts, travel and tourism are poised for an upswing.

The article affirmed that in the days to come, the only way for the Delhi-Hanoi relationship is to go up, opening new vistas and opportunities for a mutually invigorating and empowering partnership.-VNA