General Studies IIIndia and NeighborhoodINTERNATIONAL RELATION

India and Vietnam Relations


Vietnamese Parliamentary delegation meets Hon’ble Vice President of India and Chairman of Rajya Sabha, Shri M. Venkaiah Naidu

Background of India and Vietnam relations

Both have been exceptionally friendly and cordial since their foundations were laid by founding fathers of the two countries – President Ho Chi Minh and President Rajendra Prasad and Prime Minister Nehru. The traditionally close and cordial relations have their historical roots in the common struggle for liberation from foreign rule and the national struggle for independence. Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the first visitors to Vietnam after its victory against the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. President Ho Chi Minh went to India in February 1958. President Rajendra Prasad visited Vietnam in 1959. In recent times, political contacts have strengthened as reflected in several high-level visits by leaders from both sides. Trade and economic linkages continue to grow. India’s thrust under the ‘Look East’ policy combined with Vietnam’s growing engagement within the region and with India has paid rich dividends. Vietnam is an important regional partner in South East Asia. India and Vietnam closely cooperate in various regional forums such as ASEAN, East Asia Summit, Mekong Ganga Cooperation, Asia Europe Meeting (ASEM) besides UN and WTO


  • Both sides will actively cooperate to publish an Encyclopedia of India – Vietnam Cultural and Civilizational Relations to mark the 50th anniversary of India – Vietnam diplomatic relations in 2022.
  • The two sides will promote understanding and research of their shared cultural and civilizational heritage, including Buddhist and Cham cultures, traditions and ancient scriptures.
  • The traditional systems of medicine like Ayurveda and Vietnam-Traditional Medicine share many common threads of rich knowledge of health.
  • Yoga has emerged as a symbol of peace and harmony and shared pursuit of spiritual wellbeing and happiness.
  • New Development Partnership projects in heritage conservation in Vietnam (F-block of Temple at My Son; Dong Duong Buddhist Monastery in Quang Nam and Nhan Cham Tower in Phu Yen) will be materialised.

People-to-People Exchange: By increasing direct flights, providing ease of travelling through simplified visa procedures and facilitating tourism.

Economic Cooperation:

  • New horizons for partnership created by India’s goal to become a US dollar 5 trillion economy by 2024 and Vietnam’s ambition to become a high-income economy by 2045 will be fully explored for all segments of economy, including blue economy, MSMEs and farming communities of the two countries.
  • India and Vietnam share a comprehensive strategic partnership. One great example of economic cooperation is completion of the Development Projects with Indian ‘Grant-in-Aid’ Assistance of US dollar 1.5 million for the benefit of the local community in Vietnam’s Ninh Thuan province.

During President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Vietnam in 2014, India and Vietnam signed seven agreements, including one for enhanced cooperation in the oil sector. The details of the agreements are given in the table below:

S.No.Name of Agreement/MoUDescription of the Agreement/MoU
01Agreement on Cooperation and Mutual Assistance in Customs MattersThe Agreement aims to strengthen, promote and develop cooperation and mutual assistance on matters pertaining to customs between India and Vietnam. The two countries shall assist each other for the prevention, investigation and combating customs offences for the proper application of customs laws and for facilitating legitimate trade. The two countries shall also cooperate and exchange information in their enforcement against the illicit trafficking of narcotic drugs, psychotropic substances, precursor chemicals and other prohibited goods.
02MoU on $ 100 million Line of Credit for Defence ProcurementThe MoU provides a concessional line of credit for procurement of defence equipment from India. Details of equipment to be procured by Vietnam are under finalization.
03MoU in the field of Animal HealthThe MoU establishes cooperation between India and Vietnam in the field of Animal Health including protecting territory of each other from introduction of animal diseases and infection caused by the trade of animals, products of animal origin and materials of animal reproduction. India and Vietnam shall also share special information on meat processing, meat products and slaughter houses/abattoirs. They shall cooperate in the training and upgrading of human resources in the field of animal health through exchange of delegations, workshops, expert visits, training and share information on veterinary research.
04MoU in the Field of Setting up of Pangasius Breeding and Farming in India.  This MoU between India and Vietnam is aimed at cooperation in transfer of technology and setting up of Pangasius (catfish) breeding and farming in India and allied activities between the two countries through joint activities, programmes, exchange of scientific material, information and personnel. The joint activities shall be environmentally sound and sustainable. Annual Work Plan will be drawn and a Joint Technical Committee shall be formed to provide guidance, review progress and facilitate cooperation.
05MoU in Youth AffairsThe MoU provides the framework for programmes of cooperation between India and Vietnam in the field of youth development and excellence by encouraging and promoting an exchange of programmes, experience, skills, techniques, information and knowledge. The youth programmes shall include participation of young politicians, young entrepreneurs, young doctors, young journalists etc. It shall also involve participation of young people from both countries in youth festivals, seminars and conferences on youth related issues.
06Letter of Intent between ONGC Videsh Limited, India and Vietnam Oil and Gas Group (PetroVietnam).ONGC Videsh Limited (OVL) and PetroVietnam signed an MoU on 20 November, 2013 with an objective to enhance mutual cooperation in the hydrocarbon sector. PetroVietnam offered new blocks to OVL for oil and gas exploration and production. OVL is keen to expand its presence in Vietnam and is evaluating the blocks on offer. This Letter of Intent will further consolidate cooperation between India and Vietnam in the energy sector and pave the way for future collaboration between the two countries in this area.
07MoU between Jet Airways (India) and Vietnam Airlines Company Limited.Jet Airways and Vietnam Airlines have entered into this MoU for enhancing their presence in each other’s markets. The scope of the MoU involves code sharing on services of each other. From 5 November 2014, Jet Airways intends to extend its Mumbai-Bangkok flight to Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam. This service will also enable passengers travelling from Delhi to Bangkok, to connect on the extension flight beyond Bangkok to Ho Chi Minh City.

India’s Assistance to Vietnam:

  • The Archaeological Survey of India is helping Vietnam in the preservation and conservation of some of the temples.
  • Since 1976, India has offered several Lines of Credit (LoCs) to Vietnam over the years on concessional terms and conditions.
  • Vietnam has been a large recipient of training programmes under Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) programme.

Climate Change:

  • India advocated that Vietnam’s possible future participation in the International Solar Alliance would bring new opportunities for cooperation in large scale deployment of solar energy.
  • India looks forward to Vietnam’s joining the Coalition for Disaster Resilient Infrastructure in the near future.
  • They agreed to expand the Mekong – Ganga Quick Impact Projects.


The Mekong River


They will further strengthen and institutionalize linkages such as Parliamentary exchanges; relations between Indian States and Vietnamese Provinces; exchanges between social organisations and youth organizations; collaboration between educational institutions; engagement between think tanks; joint research programmes; and exchanges in media, film, TV shows and sports.

Defence Cooperation: 

  • While Vietnam is interested in modernising its armed forces, India is interested in developing defence capabilities of its South-East Asian partners sufficiently to maintain peace in the strategic region.
  • Vietnam is interested in India’s Akash surface-to-air systems and Dhruv advanced light helicopters and Brahmos missiles.
  • Apart from this, the defence relations include capacity building, dealing with common security concerns, training of personnel, and cooperation in defence R&D

Focus on Sub-Regionalism:

  • As ASEAN continues to focus on its centrality in the region, there will be shifts in smaller members of ASEAN due to China’s rise.
  • Vietnam is focussing on both sub-regionalism and regionalism as the core of its priorities.
  • India too looks at both sub-regionalism and regionalism as priority avenues to pursue its foreign policy.
  • The India-Vietnam Joint Statement of March 2018 reiterates the focus given to sub-regionalism.
  • Another area that is emerging is the Cambodia-Laos-Vietnam growth triangle sub-regional cooperation.
  • India and Vietnam can jointly explore the potential for enhancing capacity building and providing technical assistance and training within this sub-regional grouping.


Act East Policy is the core of Indo-Pacific strategy and Vietnam is the core of Act East Asia Policy. The close relationship between the two countries is significant for the maintenance of strategic balance in South East Asia which is witnessing aggressive Chinese activities.

Keeping in mind the strategic challenges in the Indo-Pacific region, primarily those posed by China, India and Vietnam should work in close coordination at multilateral institutions such as the UN Security Council, where both India and Vietnam are elected to be non-permanent members in 2021.

Way Forward:

  • Both Countries need to leverage the economic opportunities available because of anti-China sentiments and several manufacturing firms deciding to shift from China.
  • Coordinating at Global Level
  • Coordinating With Other Regional Partners
  • Both Countries should expedite the process of negotiations for finalisation of defence deals.

Source: PIB

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