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Vietnam’s Balancing Act with China For Stability

During a two-day visit to Hanoi by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Vietnam agreed to become a part of Beijing’s “community of shared future.”…reports Asian Lite News

Foreign policy experts are expressing skepticism regarding the recently highlighted enhancement of relations between China and Vietnam this week. They assert that Hanoi is unlikely to deviate from its meticulously balanced foreign policy, which encompasses recently reinforced connections with the U.S. and Japan, reported Voice of America (VOA).

During a two-day visit to Hanoi by Chinese President Xi Jinping, Vietnam agreed to become a part of Beijing’s “community of shared future.” This community is ostensibly an advancement from the already high-level “comprehensive strategic partnership” that binds the two nations, as reported by the official Chinese news outlet, Xinhua.

Nguyen Khac Giang, a visiting fellow at the Singapore-based Institute of Southeast Asian Studies at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, described Hanoi’s acceptance of Xi’s invitation to join the community as a rebalancing after significant leaps in diplomatic ties with the West.

“Hanoi wanted to reassure Beijing that they would not abandon China to defect to the other camp, nor join forces to contain China,” Giang told VOA Vietnamese over the phone.

Director of the Southeast Asian program at the Washington-based Center for Strategic and International Studies, Greg Poling, highlighted the upgrade in both nations’ relations, and described Xi’s visit to Hanoi as “a face-saving trip … that results in a lot of rhetoric but little concrete,” reported VOA.

In an email to VOA Vietnamese, he noted that Hanoi initially resisted the idea of the upgrade but “ultimately felt it necessary to compromise on this point in order to maintain some stability.”

Vietnam and China have had top-tier diplomatic connections since 2008, but Washington and Tokyo just recently earned the same status as Vietnam during US President Joe Biden’s visit to Hanoi in September and Vietnamese President Vo Van Thuong’s visit to Tokyo last month.

In an article issued in Nhan Dhan, the official newspaper of the Vietnamese Communist Party, Chinese president Jinping put forward his vision of the community as one linking China’s development to that of its neighbours so that each country is better off.

He further emphasised that Asia’s future is in the hands of Asians, according to VOA.

Moreover, Vietnam obtained immediate rewards from 36 cooperation documents signed on Tuesday by Xi and his Vietnamese counterpart, Nguyen Phu Trong. These include wider access to the Chinese market, Chinese funding for a cross-border rail link and a hotline to deal with fishery incidents in the South China Sea.

China has long been Vietnam’s top trade partner, with bilateral volume last year topping USD 175 billion., adding that is also the fourth-largest foreign investor in Vietnam.

Additionally, before the Covid-19 pandemic, Chinese nationals made up the largest group of tourists in Vietnam, accounting for one-third of foreign tourists in 2019.

However, relations between China and Vietnam have been unstable, underscoring that the two countries fought a bloody border war in 1979 and clashed over an island in the Spratly chain in 1988 before normalizing ties in 1991, according to VOA.

Beijing and Hanoi remained locked in a territorial dispute over the South China Sea, with Vietnam expanding its island-building efforts to counter China’s claims of sovereignty.

Meanwhile, a US State Department spokesperson referring to the upgrade in Hanoi-Beijing relations, said that Vietnam “has long been a critical partner (of the United States), and our bilateral relationship has only deepened.”

“The United States and Vietnam have a shared sense of purpose and a common vision for a secure, prosperous and open Indo-Pacific, spanning from our close collaboration on war legacy and humanitarian issues to regional security, shared prosperity, deepening cooperation on tackling the climate crisis, infectious diseases, illicit trafficking of drugs and wildlife, strengthening maritime cooperation and combating transnational crime,” the spokesperson said.

Moreover, Nguyen Khac Giang, a visiting fellow at the Singapore-based Institute of Southeast Asian Studies at the ISEAS-Yusof Ishak Institute, described Hanoi’s acceptance of Xi’s invitation to join the community as a “rebalancing” after significant leaps in diplomatic ties with the West.

“Hanoi wanted to reassure Beijing that they would not abandon China to defect to the other camp, nor join forces to contain China,” Giang added.

Giang further highlighted that the Beijing-centered community is “all-encompassing” but lacks specifics, so Vietnamese participation is “more about form than substance.”

“Vietnam joining the community does not mean that it falls into the Chinese orbit, nor that it embraces Beijing’s version of world order,” he stressed.

According to the poling, while the two sides signed dozens of vague agreements, Vietnam refused to sign about 10, including one on critical minerals for which Xi had personally lobbied, VOA reported.

“In any case, it has no diplomatic meaning in Vietnam – China remains a comprehensive strategic partner, just like the US, Korea and Japan,” he wrote in the email.

Both experts pointed out that even the title “community of shared future” was downgraded at Vietnam’s insistence from the more encompassing “community of common destiny” proposed by Beijing.

While talking about economic interdependence, Zachary Abuza, a professor of national security strategy at the National War College in Washington, said that economic interdependence is a key feature of the community.

He further noted that China and Vietnam “are quite interdependent economically.”

“Northern Vietnam is part of the southern Chinese supply chain. Vietnam runs a chronic and large trade deficit with China due to the fact that so much of what Vietnam exports is based on Chinese-made parts,” he wrote, adding that “Vietnam is clearly concerned” about what China’s slowing economy and declining exports mean for it.

Abuza called Beijing’s appetite for Vietnam’s rare earth elements “dangerous,” given that China already has a near monopoly on rare earth reprocessing, reported VOA.

Moreover, Nguyen Khac Giang said that Hanoi “apparently tried to stabilize trade-investment ties with China” and that Vietnam is “in huge need of capital to build infrastructures as well as transition to green energies.”

However, Nguyen Huu Vinh, a former security officer-turned-political activist said that the Vietnamese government’s decision to join the community with China “will not ring well with the Vietnamese public.”

He added that there is a “huge discrepancy between what Beijing said and what it has done.”

“All that they said is just big but empty words,” he said, warning that the new fishery hotline “would be of little use.”

Poling noted that Vietnam’s participation in the community will do little to reduce Sino-Vietnamese tensions in the South China Sea.

Further, Abuza described the community as ‘absolute nonsense’ when it comes to the South China Sea, given that “China’s excessive maritime claims violate the sovereignty of Vietnam and the other claimants.”

“Hanoi should be very leery of endorsing this or other of China’s intentionally vaguely worded proposals for world order,” he said. “Vietnam is far better served emphatically endorsing the rules-based order, governed by international law and accepted norms of behaviour,” Abuza said. (ANI)

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Rohingya Exodus: Asia’s Largest Since Vietnam War

When the largest wave of Rohingyas — 700,000 people, as per UN reports — fled Myanmar in 2017, this human exodus was the largest in Asia since the Vietnam War….writes Kavya Dubey

The world learnt of the Rohingyas in August 2017 when violence on a large scale, unprecedented human rights violations and armed attacks drove thousands from this ethnic community out of their homes in Myanmar’s Rakhine state.

Widely called a genocide, the Rohingya massacre is the ongoing persecution of the Rohingya people that are predominantly Muslim, by Myanmar’s military. This genocide has had two phases: The military crackdown that occurred from October 2016 to January 2017; and the second phase which is going on since August 2017.

When the largest wave of Rohingyas — 700,000 people, as per UN reports — fled Myanmar in 2017, this human exodus was the largest in Asia since the Vietnam War.

Over 960,000 of them fled to Bangladesh and a majority of them live in the Cox Bazar area, a port city, making it the world’s largest refugee camp. Several others fled to India, Thailand, Malaysia, and other parts of South and Southeast Asia to escape the ethnic cleansing.

The community, regarded by the UN as among “the most persecuted minorities in the world”, and “amongst the world’s least wanted”, have officially been denied Burmese citizenship since the Burmese nationality law was enacted in 1982. They have however been persecuted and marginalised since long before this legislation.

Some of the restrictions on them include signing a document to commit to not having more than two children, not being allowed to travel without official permission, no right to receive higher education nor essential services and means of support.

The persecution of Rohingya Muslims goes back to at least the 1970s, with their persecution at the hands of Buddhist Nationalists and the Burmese government.

The present refugee crisis was spurred by the crackdown by the Myanmar armed forces against the Rohingyas in the northwestern region of the country (Rakhine). This act of the military has been called ethnic cleansing and genocide by different UN agencies, International Criminal Court officials, human rights groups, journalists, governments etc.

Evidence against the Myanmar government of carrying out the genocide includes wide-scale violation of human rights, extrajudicial killings, gang rapes, infanticide, committing arson on Rohingya properties and institutions, as stated by the UN. The Burmese government, however, dismissed it and called it “exaggerations”.

It was in August 2017 when the persecution of the Rohingyas was launched in retaliation against the Arakan Rohingya Salvation Army attacks on Myanmar border posts.

In late September 2017, a seven-member panel of the Permanent Peoples’ Tribunal, an international human rights organisation based in Italy, found the Burmese military and authority guilty of genocide against the Rohingya and the Kachin minority groups (another ethnicity).

Refugees in the Kutupalong Rohingya Refugee Camp in Cox’s Bazar, Bangladesh, in July, 2018. (Photo: UN/IANS)

Celebrated political figure and Nobel laureate Aung San Suu Kyi was criticised for her silence over the issue and for supporting the military’s actions.

In August 2018, the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights declared that Burmese military generals should be tried for genocide. On 23 January 2020, the International Court of Justice ordered Myanmar to prevent genocidal violence against its Rohingya minority and to preserve evidence of past attacks.

The Rohingyas seek subsistence in the far off places they are moved to, and it is Bangladesh that has the largest concentration of them.

In May this year, when Cyclone Mocha, a most severe storm in the region in recent times, struck Bangladesh and Myanmar, it caused widespread destruction and had a devastating impact on infrastructure and millions of people across the two countries.

The storm impacted 2.3 million people in Bangladesh, which included 930,000 Rohingya refugees. The damage could not be repaired due to the monsoon rains that followed, leaving the refugees without shelter, exposed in the rain.

Arrangements for their food and water supplies, along with reasonable accommodation with proper amenities, remain a major challenge.

The Rohingya refugees continue to lack legal status, livelihood opportunities and with their movement beyond the camps restricted, leaving them entirely dependent on humanitarian assistance coming from anywhere

And until aid arrives and eases their survival a little, weather-related hazards continue to be a danger.

The only way forward is a political dialogue for their voluntary repatriation, but these stateless people living off humanitarian aid will eventually become a burden on their host countries, and there may come a time when they have to choose between their own citizens and these refugees.

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There’s a lot of potential for India-Vietnam ties to prosper, says envoy

The event also welcomed ministerial and senior official delegations from various North Eastern States of India…reports Asian Lite News

Lauding ties between the nations, Vietnam’s Ambassador to India, Nguyen Thanh Hai, has said that both countries are comprehensive strategic partners with each other.

He noted that as strategic partners, there is a lot of potential for the relationship to prosper.

“India and Vietnam are comprehensive strategic partners to each other and there’s a lot of potential for our relationship to prosper,” the Ambassador of Vietnam to India said. Speaking further, he also stressed that connectivity has also been strengthened between the two countries.

“Connectivity between the two countries has been strengthened with a lot of people travelling to either country… With a very good political relationship, it’s about time to translate our political relationship into an effective comprehensive strategic partnership, he added.

The ties between India and Vietnam have remained cordial and friendly.

Recently, in November, the Embassy of India in Hanoi, the Consulate General of India in Ho Chi Minh City, in collaboration with the Ministry of Development of North Eastern Region, Government of India, the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, as well as several state governments from North East India orchestrated the North East India Festival (NEIF).

Minister of State for External Affairs and Education, Rajkumar Ranjan Singh, undertook an official visit to Vietnam last month to take part in the third edition of the festival held in Ho Chi Minh City.

The event also welcomed ministerial and senior official delegations from various North Eastern States of India.

During his visit, Rajkumar Ranjan Singh engaged in a bilateral meeting with Bui Xuan Cuong, Vice Chairman of the Ho Chi Minh City People’s Committee. Furthermore, he took the opportunity to interact with members of the Indian community residing in Ho Chi Minh City, External Affairs Ministery release said. (ANI)

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Amid Strain, Xi Calls For Trust With Vietnam

Significantly, Xi’s trip to Vietnam was the first in six years and the fourth overseas trip since beginning his third term as China’s President earlier this year…reports Asian Lite News

Barely months after Hanoi improved ties with Washington, China and Vietnam, two ancient foes with long-standing disputes over competing claims in the South China Sea, decided on Tuesday to hold discussions on collaborations between them, according to CNN.Chinese state media hailed a “new positioning of relations” between Chinese leader Xi Jinping and Vietnamese Communist Party chief Nguyen Phu Trong after they agreed to collaborate on matters ranging from maritime patrols to trade and crime prevention at a summit in Hanoi.In remarks made public by the official media on both sides after their meeting in Hanoi on Tuesday, the two leaders also promised to create a community with a “shared future”–a crucial Xi phraseology, CNN reported.Significantly, Xi’s trip to Vietnam was the first in six years and the fourth overseas trip since beginning his third term as China’s President earlier this year.

Xi’s visit comes after US President Joe Biden’s September visit to Vietnam, during which Washington and Hanoi strengthened their diplomatic relations in the face of rising commerce and growing anxiety about China’s escalating military presence in the South China Sea.In a bid to assert its “sovereignty” in the South China Sea, where Vietnam and other regional governments hold competing claims, Beijing, in a show of belligerence and power, militarised artificial islands and increased its maritime presence, stoking underlying tensions with Hanoi, CNN reported.According to Vietnam’s state radio channel, China and Vietnam have patrolled the designated Gulf of Tonkin in the past, including earlier this month.

“Respect each other’s legal and legitimate interests; not to complicate the situation; settle disputes via peaceful measures in accordance with international laws,” Vietnam Communist Party Chief Trong said in a speech during his meeting with Xi, CNN reported quoting VNA. China and Vietnam should “turn challenges posed by maritime issues into opportunities of bilateral cooperation”, Xi said. The South China Sea tensions are at an all-time high at a time when the two nations have come together for meetings. Over practically the whole waterway, including several features hundreds of kilometres from mainland China, Beijing asserts “indisputable sovereignty”, according to a report. However, Taiwan, Malaysia, Vietnam, Brunei, and the Philippines have conflicting claims in the maritime region. In recent months, there have been many run-ins between Chinese and Filipino warships as Manila tries to uphold its claims on the South China Sea and Beijing disregards an international tribunal’s 2016 decision, rejecting its ancient rights to the majority of the sea. (ANI)

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Rahul to Visit Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam

Gandhi will be visiting Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam…reports Asian Lite News

Congress MP from Wayanad, Rahul Gandhi is likely to travel to four countries starting from December 9.

According to sources, Gandhi will be visiting Indonesia, Singapore, Malaysia and Vietnam.

According to the sources, Rahul Gandhi will meet the Indian diaspora in Singapore and Malaysia while in Indonesia he will be meeting the diplomats.

“The Congress leader is likely to meet the Vietnam Communist Party leaders,” the sources added.

Meanwhile, Congress leader Rahul Gandhi has been summoned by MP/MLA court on December 16 in connection with a 2018 case over using derogatory remarks against Union Home Minister Amit Shah in a Bengaluru conference.

The complaint was filed by the then BJP District Vice President, Vijay Mishra.

Santosh Kumar Pandey, lawyer appeared for Vijay Mishra said that Congress MP Rahul Gandhi can be given a maximum punishment of 2 years if sufficient evidence is found against him.

“Congress leader Rahul Gandhi held a press conference in Bengaluru. About 5 years ago, Amit Shah who is currently the Home Minister, objectionable remarks were made against him. On August 4, 2018, this case was filed in the District and Sessions Court of MP-MLA Court Sultanpur. On which on Monday, Judge Yogesh Kumar Yadav of MP MLA Court Sultanpur has summoned Congress leader Rahul Gandhi on December 16. This statement came from Rahul Gandhi during the Karnataka elections in Bengaluru in 2018,” Santosh Kumar Pandey told ANI.

Meanwhile, after leading a high-octane campaign in five states of Telangana, Chhattisgarh, Rajasthan, Madhya Pradesh and Mizoram, former Congress president Rahul Gandhi has reached Kerala’s Wayanad, his Parliamentary constituency, on a four-day trip.

Party leaders said that Gandhi, who arrived in Wayanad on Tuesday night, will stay there till December 1 and participate in several programmes.

On Tuesday — the last day of campaigning in Telangana — Rahul Gandhi interacted with gig workers, sanitary workers and auto drivers and heard their problems.

He also held a joint road show with his sister and party general secretary Priyanka Gandhi Vadra besides addressing a joint public meeting.

The leader will be returning home on December 1 night, three days prior to the Parliament’s Winter Session on December 4.

In the past 45 days, he has addressed several public meetings in the five states which went to the polls recently. (ANI/IANS)

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North East India Festival Thrives in Vietnam

The atmosphere was further enlivened by electrifying performances by renowned bands from North East India and Vietnam, including Bright Lights, Rapper Huynh Cong Hieu, The Kod Crew, Baba, Summersalt India, Saigon LH, and Bollywood DJ Cyco…reports Asian Lite News

The 3rd North East India Festival, a three-day extravaganza, commenced on October 27th in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, and concluded with resounding success on Sunday evening.

The event served as a platform for eminent figures from India and Vietnam, including, union ministers, chief ministers, provincial leaders, entrepreneurs, investors, tour operators, to engage in constructive dialogues on education, trade, and cultural awareness. 

Over the course of the festival, the first and second days witnessed an array of discussions and partnerships in education exchange, trade and business initiatives, flight connectivity, and tourism collaborations. Stakeholders, entrepreneurs, and representatives from educational institutions came together to explore opportunities for growth and collaboration, creating a positive atmosphere for progress and development.

The grand finale on 29th October was a vibrant celebration of cultural diversity. The event showcased a kaleidoscope of North Eastern dance forms, including Bagrumba (Boro), Bhortaal (Assam), Drum Ensemble and Flute (Meghalaya), Tiwa Dance (Assam), Mwsaglangnai (Boro), Bihu Dance (Assam), Mishing (Assam), Daosri Delai (Boro), Drum Beating (Meghalaya), and Jarapagla (Boro). Additionally, mesmerising folk performances by Vietnamese artists added a unique flavor to the event.

The atmosphere was further enlivened by electrifying performances by renowned bands from North East India and Vietnam, including Bright Lights, Rapper Huynh Cong Hieu, The Kod Crew, Baba, Summersalt India, Saigon LH, and Bollywood DJ Cyco.

A spectacular fashion show featuring top-notch designers of North East India dazzled the audience, showcasing exquisite designs and rich fabrics from the region. Celebrity showstoppers and glamorous models from Vietnam graced the runway, presenting creations by Bidyut and Rakesh, Daisy G Momin under the label “Daisy’s”, Manjushree Saikia under the label “Ura Maku”, and Babbi Kevichusa under the label “Bambi”.

Shyamkanu Mahanta, Chief Organiser of the North East India Festival, said, “We are immensely grateful for the overwhelming response from the local community and the staunch support from Vietnam’s stakeholders, local communities, and our representatives from India. The North East India Festival is in perfect alignment with Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Act East policy. We engaged in fruitful discussions on education exchange programmes between India and Vietnam, as well as collaborative efforts in tourism. Talks are underway with stakeholders to establish direct flight routes between Vietnam and North East India. The outcomes have exceeded our expectations. The North East Festival is not merely a cultural show; it is a platform for forging stronger ties in economy, education, and cross-cultural connections. We look forward to an even grander event next year.”

Dr. Madan Mohan Sethi, Consul General of India in Ho Chi Minh City, also shared his insights, stating, “The 3rd North East India Festival has been an exceptional platform for distinguished figures from both India and Vietnam to engage in enriching dialogues. This event has not only strengthened the existing bonds between our nations but has also laid the foundation for even deeper collaboration in the future.”

The festival also featured the Incredible India Exhibition, showcasing the diverse destinations of India. Attendees had the opportunity to explore a dedicated textile zone, state-specific exhibition zones representing various northeastern states, and themes related to the Act East Policy, tea, industry, and tourism. Culinary enthusiasts relished the authentic delicacies of the North Eastern states.

Buoyed by this year’s magnificent success, the organisers eagerly look forward to an even bigger and more vibrant event next year, further cementing stronger bonds between the two countries.

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Jaishankar hails India-Vietnam strategic ties

India and Vietnam enjoy longstanding close ties, mutual trust and appreciation for each other…reports Asian Lite News

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar hailed India-Vietnam strategic ties and called it a “source of security, stability and progress in the region,” while reaffirming the long maritime tradition between the two nations.

Jaishankar reiterated that the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership built on the long maritime tradition while visiting INS Sudarshini docked in Ho Chi Minh City at the Saigon Port on Wednesday morning

Sharing on his official social media, ‘X’, Jaishankar stated, “Delighted to visit INS Sudarshini which docked in Ho Chi Minh City this morning. Its visit reaffirms our long maritime tradition. Our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership has built on that, emerging as a source of security, stability and progress in the region.”

Jaishankar later interacted with the young crew, Vietnamese military personnel and senior officials. Additionally, he interacted with the Indian diaspora in Ho Chi Minh City at an event organised by the Consulate General of India and appreciated their contribution to furthering India-Vietnam relations.

Jaishankar was an official visit to Vietnam from October 15 to 18 at the invitation of Vietnam’s Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son.

EAM Jaishankar called on Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh and also held discussions with the Chairman of the External Relations Commission of the Communist Party of Vietnam Le Hoai Trung.

“The two Ministers co-chaired the 18th India-Vietnam Joint Commission Meeting on economic, trade, scientific and technological cooperation and reviewed progress on India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership including bilateral cooperation in various fields,” the Ministry of External Affairs said in a statement.

They both signed agreed minutes of the Joint Commission meeting outlining ways to enhance trade, business exchanges, economic cooperation in the energy, financial, mineral, information technology, healthcare, agriculture, connectivity, defence and security, advanced technologies, education and training, development cooperation, justice, tourism, think-tank, cultural and people-level exchanges.

Moreover, they also exchanged views on regional and international issues of mutual interest.

India and Vietnam enjoy longstanding close ties, mutual trust and appreciation for each other.

“The two sides recognized that as two fast-growing economies, there are emerging opportunities to intensify trade, business and economic exchanges.” the statement added, further noting that the defence and security cooperation which are the key pillars of their engagement will also be deepened.

Furthermore, close bonds of affinity and culture among the people visible in Buddhist connections, the popularity of yoga, academic ties, heritage monuments, cultural exchanges and province-level engagements will also be enhanced.

During Jaishankar’s visit to Vietnam, the two ministers visited the historical Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi where a Bodhi tree presented by the then President of India to the Vietnamese President was planted 64 years ago. The tree symbolised the shared heritage of Buddhism between the two countries.  (ANI)

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Jaishankar Interacts With Indian Diaspora in Vietnam

EAM shared on X, “Good to interact with members of the Indian community in Bac Ninh province.”…reports Asian Lite News

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar unveiled the bust of Rabindranath Tagore at Bac Ninh province of Vietnam and watched a performance by Quan Ho Art Theater group on Sunday.

EAM Jaishankar shared about the event saying, “Witnessed a great performance by Quan Ho Art Theater group from Bac Ninh province. The group will travel to India for the 9th India International Dance and Music Festival in New Delhi.”

Later on, the Minister also interacted with the members of the Indian diaspora and visited the Phat Tich Pagoda Buddhist cultural centre in Bac Ninh province.

EAM shared on X, “Good to interact with members of the Indian community in Bac Ninh province.”

He added, “The India and Vietnam civilizational connect is so visible at the Phat Tich pagoda in Bac Ninh. Appreciate the warmth of my welcome.”

Phat Tich Pagoda – a Buddhist cultural center that contains cultural and sculptural values of the Ly Dynasty.

During his visit to the centre, he also met with the Most Ven. Thich Thanh Nhieu of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha.

EAM posted about his interaction on X saying, ” Good to meet Most Ven. Thich Thanh Nhieu of the Vietnam Buddhist Sangha at Phat Tich. Appreciated his positive sentiments about spirituality, yoga, art & culture.”

External Affairs Minister S Jaishankar arrived in Vietnam on Sunday, for his four-day visit during which he will be co-chairing the 18th Joint Commission meeting.

Jaishankar received a warm personal welcome from Vietnam Minister of Foreign Affairs, Bui Thanh Son at Tran Quoc pagoda.

“Arrived in Vietnam today. Thank you @FMBuiThanhSon for the warm personal welcome at the renowned Tran Quoc pagoda. Looking forward to co-chairing the 18th Joint Commission Meeting tomorrow,” Jaishankar posted on X (formerly Twitter).

He also visited the historical Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi which shares age-old links between India and Vietnam.

“Visited the historical Tran Quoc Pagoda in Hanoi. The age-old links between India and Vietnam are symbolized by the Bodhi tree here. Was gifted by President Rajendra Prasad in 1959 to President Ho Chi Minh,” Jaishankar stated.

Notably, EAM is on an official visit at the invitation of his counterpart Bui Thanh Son.

He will co-chair the 18th meeting of the India-Vietnam Joint Commission on Economic, Trade, Scientific, and Technological Cooperation with his Vietnamese counterpart, the MEA stated.

During the visit, EAM will also visit Hanoi and Ho Chi Minh City and is expected to hold talks with the Vietnamese leadership. He will also meet members of the Indian community and unveil Mahatma Gandhi’s Bust in Ho Chi Minh City.

India and Vietnam share a robust Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Vietnam is a key member of our Act East Policy. EAM’s visit will provide an opportunity to review progress in several areas and discuss ways to further enhance bilateral cooperation, according to MEA.

Following the visit to Vietnam, Jaishankar will leave for Singapore on an official visit from October 19-20. (ANI)

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‘Over 400 Indian Firms Have Invested in Vietnam’

Defence Minister of Vietnam, General Phan Van Giang called on President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan, according to a press release by the President’s Secretariat on Monday…reports Asian Lite News

India’s Consul General in Ho Chi Minh City, Vietnam, Madan Mohan Sethi highlighted the cordial and friendly relationship between India and Vietnam, emphasizing their historical ties through civilization that spans over 2,000 years.

“More than 400 Indian companies, small and big have invested in Vietnam for a cumulative value of more than USD 1 billion,” he said.

He mentioned that both countries have collaborated in various areas, including trade, defense, and strategic cooperation.

He noted the increasing number of Indian tourists visiting Vietnam, with over 400,000 Indian tourists estimated to have visited the country in recent times.

“As far as the relationship between India and Vietnam is concerned, both countries enjoy a very cordial and friendly relationship,” Sethi said.

He said the two countries have a “historical connection through culture and civilizational roots going back to more than 2000 years. In recent times, we have cooperated with Vietnam in multiple areas including trade and commerce, defence and strategic areas.

He also mentioned a growing interest among Vietnamese travelers to explore India.

“But from last year June onwards, with more connection between cities like Ho Chi Minh City and Hanoi, with our cities of India like Kolkata, Delhi, Mumbai, Ahmadabad and very recently Kochi, what we are witnessing that hundreds of Indian tourists are visiting Vietnam,” the Consul General said.

“So by one estimate, I think more than 400,000 Indian tourists have already visited Vietnam and we are also seeing a surge in the number of Vietnamese travelling to India,” he added.

As per Sethi, Vietnam has a relationship with India through yoga and Buddhism. “Nowadays we are promoting the Vietnamese provinces to visit Indian states to develop partnership and cooperation in multiple areas including higher education, IT, healthcare and tourism.”

He said: “India’s image has changed a lot in recent times due to the steps by the government of India under PM Modi. And perhaps more engagements have been made with a large number of countries in the last nine years. …But definitely there is more intense engagement with the countries, with our friendly countries and again countries of the south actually.”

Recently, the Defence Minister of Vietnam, General Phan Van Giang called on President Droupadi Murmu at Rashtrapati Bhavan, according to a press release by the President’s Secretariat on Monday.

Welcoming General Giang and his delegation to India, the President said that India and Vietnam share a rich history of civilizational and cultural linkages spanning over 2000 years.

She added that Vietnam is an important pillar of India’s Act East Policy and a key partner of our Indo-Pacific Vision.

President Murmu noted that the India-Vietnam ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ has widened the range of bilateral collaboration including in defence and security cooperation, trade and investment relations, energy security, development cooperation, cultural and people-to-people relations. (ANI)

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Biden Lands in Hanoi, Secures Deals with Southeast Asia

Jon Finer, the US principal Deputy National Security Adviser, said the upgrade will encompass security aspects…reports Asian Lite News

US President Joe Biden arrived in Hanoi in Vietnam after a successful stint at the G20 summit in New Delhi and secured deals with the South East Asian on semiconductors and minerals strengthening its global supply chains to bypass China.

Vietnam surprised Biden on arrival by elevating the US to the highest diplomatic status as a hedge against China putting it on par with Russia and China representing a personal victory for the US President who has been pushing for this higher status as he views Vietnam as an important ally. 

The uprade also helps India which is part of the Quad — US, Australia, India and Japan — which is restraining China’s hegemony in the South China Sea. India has a lot of investments in Vietnam through its state-run ONGC which is exploring for oil under a contract sharing agreement for exports of crude oil. 

The US views Vietnam, with which it fought a losing war for decades in an effort to eradicate communism from the Ho Chi Minh ruled North Vietnam, had been pushing for the upgrade for the last several months as it sees the united Vietnam (North and South) as a manufacturing hub to secure global supply chains against the risks it runs with China in the recent context of a Sino-US cold war.

Jon Finer, the US principal Deputy National Security Adviser, said the upgrade will encompass security aspects.

He was speaking to the US media on Air Force one as the US President Joe Biden departed from Delhi after attending the G20 summit meeting in Delhi. 

Though he did not achieve his primary goal on describing Russia’s war with Ukraine and sought funding for Ukraine, he was overall happy with the final wording that said War in Ukraine instead of War on Ukraine and used the words no country should be permitted to use force (military) in an aggression to seizer territories from another sovereign country.

Almost 50 years after a protracted and brutal cold war era conflict in which America lost a lot of its youth in the prime in a war considered “no business of ours” by the American people, Biden was received at the Hanoi airport to an official ceremony by the ruling Communist Party replete with school children waving American flags and honor guards carrying bayoneted rifles, the CNBC reported.

Noting the strides Vietnam had taken after the war devastated the country before its unification, Biden said: “We can trace a 50-year arc of progress between our nations, from conflict to normalization, to this new elevated status.”

Political analysts say that Vietnam is hard put to thaw relations between Washington and Beijing as it tries to get its foothold in the fierce international economic competition, media reports said.

Top Chinese officials, including President Xi Jinping, are expected to visit Vietnam in the coming days or weeks, diplomatic sources indicated saying, Hanoi wants to maintain good relations with all super powers. 

The visits will come as Vietnam’s history of a long relationship with Russia is tested in the face of the war in Ukraine. 

Vietnam is in talks with Russia over a new arms supply deal which it fears could trigger US sanctions.

CNBC quoting agency reports said that a Vietnamese military officer confirmed the Vietnam as negotiating a new $8 billion credit facility to buy heavy weaponry from Russia. 

Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry was silent, CNBC said, on initiatives by Moscow getting aggressive for a loan deal to short circuit Western sanctions on Moscow.

Hanoi is also reportedly having parallel talks with several arms suppliers including the US. 

Finer said there was no arms deal in the offing to announce right now but emphasised that the US and its allies could help Vietnam to diversify its arms supplies instead of being solely dependent on Russia. 

He claimed Vietnam was receptive to this idea and claimed it would substantially reduce Vietnam’s reliance on Moscow. US are not very comfortable with Vietnam’s relations with Russia.

A US- Vietnam agreement on sourcing rare earths could be in the offing to boost supply chains of critical minerals as Vietnam has the world’s largest deposits after China.

The US is also concerned with the Human rights issues in Hanoi as activists have been jailed which has limited freedom of expression, a bone of contention between Hanoi and the US. Vietnam may show a goodwill gesture towards diplomatic overtures for freeing the jailed activists. 

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