New Delhi: Around 27 outcomes in the form of a memorandum of understanding, agreements will be announced on Monday (December 21, 2020) at India-Vietnam virtual summit between Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vietnamese PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc. This is the first such virtual summit of PM Modi with an ASEAN country.

The announcements will be on a range of issues from defence to energy to development partnership to healthcare.

On Defence, a key focus will be on implementation of India’s Defence Line of Credit for high-speed guard boats for Vietnam. New Delhi has in the past extended defence Lines of Credit worth USD 600 million to strengthen Vietnam’s domestic defence manufacturing.

Both countries will discuss projects in water resource management in Vietnam’s Mekong Delta region, digital connectivity, PhD fellowships, and heritage conservation. They are already engaging under Mekong–Ganga Cooperation, which is a two-decade-old mechanism involving India and five ASEAN countries including Vietnam. They will explore new opportunities in renewable energy cooperation.

This is the 9th such virtual summit of PM Modi. So far, he has had virtual summits with Australia, EU, Sri Lanka, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, Uzbekistan, and Bangladesh counterparts.

Speaking to WION last month, Vietnam’s envoy to India, Pham Sanh Chau said,” Vietnam has been able to establish a direct air link between the two countries, it adds to physical connectivity. Now, on infrastructure connectivity, we hope one day we will have highway connecting various countries crossing Thailand, Cambodia, Laos in order to reach Vietnam. “

New Delhi and Hanoi will also issue joint vision on the future development of the India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and explore cooperation potential on India’s IPOI (Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative) and ASEAN’s AOIP (ASEAN Outlook on the Indo-Pacific) that Vietnam subscribes to.

The virtual summit, a new form of digital diplomacy comes amidst covid pandemic and both leaders are expectedly going to take stock of the regional and global situation and explore convergences on new and resilient supply chains. ​India and Vietnam will concurrently serve at the UN Security Council in 2021 as non-permanent members and will use this for a stronger voice for reforms at the 75-year-old body.

Vietnam is the chair of the ASEAN grouping this year, and the last few years have seen a number of high-level visits and engagement between the two countries.

President Ram Nath Kovind had visited the country in 2018, Vice President Venkaiah Naidu in 2019 and PM Modi in 2016 during which ties were elevated to ‘comprehensive strategic partnership’.
 

President of Vietnam Tran Dai and PM Phuc both were in India in 2018.

 

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