Vietnam, India agree to boost defense, renewable energy cooperation

By Vu Anh, Nguyen Quy   December 21, 2020 | 11:06 pm PT
Vietnam, India agree to boost defense, renewable energy cooperation
An artist's impression of one of 12 high-speed patrol boats that India is building for Vietnam. Photo courtesy of Larsen & Toubro Shipbuilding.
India and Vietnam have signed seven agreements to boost cooperation in fields including defense, renewable energy and petrochemicals.

Participating in a virtual summit on Monday with Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi described Vietnam as "an important pillar of India's Act East policy and an important ally of our Indo-Pacific vision," India's government news site reported.

"We see our relationship with Vietnam from a long-term and strategic view. Peace, stability and prosperity are our common objectives in the Indo-Pacific region. Our partnership can contribute significantly to maintain stability and peace in the region," Modi said.

During the summit, the countries inked seven agreements in various areas such as defense, nuclear power, petrochemicals, renewable energy and cancer treatment while announcing three cooperation programs in heritage preservation and cultural exchange, Vietnam's Foreign Affairs Ministry stated.

Both leaders confirmed their joint vision for peace, prosperity and development of the India-Vietnam comprehensive strategic partnership.

The two leaders expressed their satisfaction at the building of 12 high-speed patrol vessels for the Vietnam Coast Guard as part of India's $100-million line of credit.

Five vessels are being built at the Larsen & Toubro shipyard in Chennai, with the rest to be built at Hong Ha shipyard in northern port city Hai Phong under the Indian firm’s supervision.

The two prime ministers affirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security, safety and freedom of navigation and overflight, and peaceful settlement of disputes based on international law, especially the U.N. Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS) and called for the full and effective implementation of the Declaration on the Conduct of Parties in the South China Sea (DOC) and early completion of the Code of Conduct in the South China Sea (COC).

Defense and security cooperation is an important pillar of the Vietnam-India partnership.

Both leaders reaffirmed their commitment to strengthening cooperation against common global challenges, including the Covid-19 pandemic, agreeing to ensure access to vaccines.

Thanks to strict quarantine and tracking measures, Vietnam has managed to contain its Covid-19 outbreaks with total infections at 1,414 and 35 deaths in the population of 96 million while India remains the world's second biggest coronavirus hotspot with over 10 million infections and 146,145 deaths.

India and Vietnam will concurrently serve as non-permanent members of the U.N. Security Council from 2021, opening up new opportunities for cooperation and coordination on regional and international issues.

Vietnam and India established diplomatic ties in 1972.

India, a staunch ally in Vietnam's fight for independence and reunification, is also one of Vietnam's top trading partners, with two-way trade turnover reaching $11.3 billion last year, double that of 2016, according to Vietnam Trade Affairs Office in India.

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