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. Leaders like Mahatma Gandhi and President Ho Chi Minh led peoples in the heroic struggle against colonialism.
India-Vietnam relations 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.
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 visited India in Feb. 1958. President Rajendra Prasad visited Vietnam in 1959.
Relations between the two countries were elevated to the level of ‘Strategic Partnership’ during the visit of Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to India in July 2007, and further elevated to ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ during the visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Vietnam in Sept. 2016.
In recent times, political contacts have strengthened as reflected in several high-level visits by leaders from both sides. The more recent visits include the following: i) Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s Official Visit to Vietnam on 02 – 03 September 2016. Bilateral talks between the two Prime Ministers was followed by the signing of several bilateral documents. During his visit, PM also met Mr. Nguyen Phu Trong, General Secretary of Vietnam Communist Party, Tran Dai Quang, President of Vietnam , and Nguyen Thi Kim Ngan, Chairperson of the National Assembly of Vietnam.
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.
India’s relations with Vietnam are marked by growing economic and commercial engagement. India is now among the top ten trading partners of Vietnam. During former Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to India in October 2014, the two sides decided to make economic cooperation a strategic thrust in the India-Vietnam Strategic Partnership. This was once again reiterated by Prime Minister Modi and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc in September 2016 during the former’s visit to Vietnam. During the 2nd meeting of the Joint Sub-Committee, held on 20th January 2015, five key sectors were identified as thrust areas including garment and textile, pharmaceuticals, agro-commodities, leather & footwear and engineering.
Bilateral trade between India and Vietnam has seen continuous growth over the past many years. India is now among the top ten trading partners of Vietnam. According to data, total trade between the two countries during April – Nov of fiscal year 2016-2017 was US$ 6244.92 million. The two sides agreed to set the target of bilateral trade at USD 15 billion by 2020. Major export commodities from India are machinery and equipment, seafood, pharmaceuticals, cottons of all kinds, automobiles, textiles and leather accessories, cattle feed ingredient, chemicals, plastic resins, products of chemicals, fibres of all kinds, steel of all kinds, fabrics of all kinds, ordinary metals and jewellery & precious stones.
Based on the current excellent relations and with the desire to contribute to regional peace, stability, cooperation and prosperity, Vietnam and India agreed to elevate the Strategic Partnership to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
Indian investments in Vietnam have remained constant at around US$ 1 billion but are expected to rise in the coming years. During 2016, according to figures from the Foreign Investment Agency of Vietnam, Indian companies registered 17 new projects with a total capital of US$98.12 million in the areas of food processing, fertilizers, auto components, textile accessories etc. Major sectors of investment are energy, mineral exploration, agro-processing, sugar manufacturing, agrochemicals, IT and auto components