Your Excellency Foreign Minister Bui Thanh Son,
Excellencies, My distinguished Ministerial colleague Shri Ranjan ji,
My friends from the political world. It is so good to see you here.
Dear Friends, Ladies and Gentlemen,
It really gives me enormous pleasure today to join the event to celebrate 50th anniversary of the diplomatic relations between India and Vietnam. It is particularly joyous for us that we have the presence of Foreign Minister here with us.
This is a year of multiple milestones. We are celebrating the 30th anniversary of our dialogue partnership with the ASEAN. And I just hosted the Foreign Minister along with his other ASEAN colleagues for a Special ASEAN-India Foreign Ministers’ Meeting to mark this anniversary.
But this year, we are also celebrating the 75th anniversary of India’s independence as "Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav”.And this year is also the year when we complete the golden jubilee of diplomatic relations with a close and trusted partner, Vietnam.
Though diplomatic relations between India and Vietnam were established in 1972, our friendship and close relations, as you heard from the Minister, predate that year.
The telephonic talk that our Prime Minister and General Secretary had in April 2022 has actually given new strategic guidance to our relationship so that we can work together to take it to a higher level.The visit of the Chairman of National Assembly of Vietnam to India last December, followed by a very successful visit by the Speaker of our Lok Sabha to Vietnam this April, is one more indication of our strong partnership.
Just recently, we have had a very notable visit by our Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh ji where a Joint Vision for Defence Cooperation and an agreement on Mutual Logistics Support was signed and together, both of them strengthened our defence cooperation. It is noticeable too that the implementation of the US$100 million defence Line of Credit for 12 High Speed Guard Boats has been successfully completed.
Last year, our bilateral trade, for the first time crossed US$ 14 billion. This shows that our businesses are looking at each other with greater interest and expectations. We hope that this year, we will certainly reach the target of US$ 15 billion which was set for us by our leaders.
Friends, we have a millennia old civilizational connection, which has manifest in our shared Buddhist and Cham heritage. The 9th century monolithic sandstone Shivalingam excavated by the Archaeological Survey of India (ASI) at My Son in central Vietnam and the designation of two important cultural-religious icons of India – Ganesha and Gajasimha – as National Treasures by the Government of Vietnam in 2020 bring to sharp relief our close historical association.
In the 20th century, we shared a history of determined struggle for independence from colonial rule. Our national movements inspired each other as India became independent just two years after Vietnam.
The last fifty years have been a remarkable journey of togetherness as both India and Vietnam overcame adversities to pursue nation-building and socio-economic transformation.
The depth of our ties has been affirmed recently in our relations, most notably when we elevated our relations to Comprehensive Strategic Partnership during the visit of Prime Minister Shri Narendra Modi to Vietnam in 2016. The wide-ranging area in which we are cooperating today is itself sign of the maturity of our ties, our support for each other’s national development and indeed in our belief in each other’s future.
Our converging visions for, and our common interest in, peace, stability and prosperity of our shared Indo-Pacific region also provides a strong basis for our close and growing engagement.
Today, Vietnam is an important pillar of India’s Act East Policy and a key partner of our Indo-Pacific Vision. We are also closely engaging with Vietnam in taking forward Prime Minister Modi’s vision of SAGAR, that is "Security and Growth for All in the Region”.
During the COVID-19 pandemic, our two countries stood by each other. We not only supported each other, but also extended a helping hand to others with whatever resources we could.
We are happy to see that both our countries are coming out of the shadows of the pandemic now and are achieving robust socio-economic recovery.
The resumption of direct flights, which the Minister referred to, between India and Vietnam has triggered new enthusiasm among our tourists and businesses alike. The immense popularity of Yoga in Vietnam provides another strong cultural and spiritual linkage between our two countries.
Ladies and Gentlemen,
As we mark the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic relations, we see our future relations to be full of promise. I am glad that we have today exchanged an MOU in the area of Cyber Security which will be crucial to building an infrastructure for protecting critical systems and sensitive information from digital attacks.
We are two rapidly growing economies. We are also two aspirational societies with youthful demography. Our development visions are centered on sustained, people-centric and inclusive development.
Our shared commitment to international law, our common desire for reformed multilateralism and our inclusive vision for regional architecture make India-Vietnam cooperation a factor for stability in the Indo-Pacific.
And therefore, ladies and gentlemen, just as I feel pride in our historical relations, I have utmost confidence in the future of our ties. Our relations are poised to achieve much more in the years ahead.
So, on that optimistic note, Excellency, I once again thank you for visiting India, for joining us today and I wish all of you peace, happiness and good health!
Thank you very much!