Status of ties between India & Vietnam.
India & Vietnam has old civilizational links & cultural ties. India had strongly condemned US actions during Vietnam war. During Vietnam-Cambodian war, India was the only non-communist country supporting Vietnam. And on the backdrop of China-Vietnam oil rig crisis 2014, India and Vietnam are closer than ever.
Vietnam is conduit for India to Pacific region. Vietnam is also strategically located in South China Sea (SCS). Which is a significant region in world politics. According to some estimates, it is the greatest reservoir of hydrocarbons in the world. Vietnam is the only route through which India can influence the region.
Future of Relationship.
Connectivity is key to any relations. Although very good maritime connectivity exists between nations, there is a need to increase land-route connectivity. It will increase trade and also help to develop India’s North East region. But the area also needs to gear itself up for upcoming connectivity. This route will also serve as India’s door to ASEAN.
In Mekong delta region, India can help in augmenting rice production. India’s experience in wetlands management can help Vietnam in the region. And can also create a NEW narrative of cooperation for ecology at global stage. Vietnam’s demand for service sector is set to increase in near future and India’s strong IT & service sectors should benefit from it.
From Kautilyan perspective, as Vietnam is China’s natural enemy and India’s natural friend. Vietnam and China have territorial dispute in SCS. Given the economic potential of those resource, the conflict is not likely to resolve soon. And Vietnamese will like to balance China with India.
After COVID-19 epidemic, nations also do not want to maintain close ties with China. This is a big opportunity for India to replace China.
Language has certainly been a barrier in relations. However with ICT revolution, cross-language communication has been made easier & language should no more be a problem.
A concern for India is that political system in Vietnam is quasi-authoritarian. And there may be periods of uncertainty in its domestic politics which India needs to handle maturely.
India has also set up Vivekananda cultural centre, yoga centre, ASI is working on ancient Hindu sites in the region. This will help to increase India’s soft power in the nation.
For research purpose, you can visit https://www.indembassyhanoi.gov.in/page/india-vietnam-relations/.