Excellencies, Ladies and Gentlemen,
On the occasion of the “Celebration of the 5th Anniversary of India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and the Announcement of the Celebrations of the 50th Anniversary of Diplomatic Relations Between India and Vietnam”, it is my pleasure to welcome the President of the National Assembly of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam, His Excellency Vuong Dinh Hue and the External Affairs Minister of India, Dr. S. Jaishankar. I also take this opportunity to warmly welcome the distinguished members of the delegation from Vietnam, Secretary East in the Ministry of External Affairs, Ms Riva Ganguly Das; and Ambassador of Vietnam to India, His Excellency Pham Sanh Chau.
2. Vietnam is one of India’s closest partners, trusted friend and an important pillar of its Act East Policy and Indo-Pacific Vision.
3. The respect and friendship between India and Viet Nam, is not new. Our relationship is civilizational, spanning over 2000 years. The advent of Buddhism from India to Vietnam and our contacts with the Champa Kingdom in Vietnam are testimony to our age-old cultural and spiritual linkages. Today, one still finds in Vietnam the ancient Ganesh Temple at Po Nagar and Shiva temple at MySon, among others. At the Tran Quac Pagoda, the Bodhi tree sapling planted by the first President of India Dr Rajendra Prasad during his visit to Vietnam in 1958, symbolizes the enduring respect for these deep historical connects.
4. The special bond between our two countries was further cemented in our pre-Independence days when the struggle against colonial rule brought our two peoples together. The uniqueness of our friendship was described by President Ho Chi Minh as a “relationship flourishing under a cloudless sky”. During his historical visit to India in 1958, ICWA was greatly honoured to host President Ho Chi Minh; and today, it is our pleasure to host the Vietnamese delegation led by His Excellency Vuong Dinh Hue, who is visiting India at the joint invitation of the Chairman of Rajya Sabha and the Speaker of Lok Sabha.
5. Our ties after Independence continued in the spirit of understanding and mutual support. India shared its developmental experiences with Vietnam. Some of the institutes set up with India’s financial and technical assistance have helped Vietnam in developing its human resources to meet its aspirational needs.
6. Since the establishment of diplomatic relations in 1972, India-Vietnam friendship has grown, becoming a ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ in 2016. In fact, Vietnam was the first ASEAN country with whom India concluded a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Our leaders remain in regular touch. Bilateral relations are thriving in all areas ranging from trade and investment; to energy cooperation; defence cooperation and a long-standing development partnership.
7. India and Vietnam cooperate closely in various regional forums like ASEAN, East Asia Summit, Mekong Ganga Cooperation besides, the UN. As two maritime nations, India and Vietnam understand the importance of maritime security and of keeping sea lanes of communication open. We both, therefore, are committed to an open and rules-based architecture for the security and growth for all.
8. Our tradition of helping each other at the time of adversity has stood the test of time. We are grateful to Vietnam for generously supporting our endeavours to contain the pandemic during the second wave in India, earlier this year. India also sent medical supplies to support Vietnam in its fight against the pandemic.
9. Moreover, India’s key domestic focus areas find resonance with Vietnam. India’s vision of Atmanirbhar Bharat and human-centric globalization have been recognized as vital, in upgrading our bilateral economic engagement. This complements Vietnam’s interest in building reliable, efficient and resilient supply chains in partnership with India.
10. Our two countries are continuing with their tradition of robust parliamentary exchanges. The visit of this eminent Parliamentary delegation led by the President of National Assembly, will add more depth and understanding to India-Vietnam bilateral relations.
I thank all who have joined us at today’s event.