India and Vietnam have traditionally close and cordial relations which have their historical roots in the common struggle for liberation from foreign rules and the national struggle for independence. India strongly supported and assisted Vietnam in its early days of post-war reconstruction in late 1970s and in its reforms and economic development later.

Pandit Jawaharlal Nehru was one of the first visitors to Vietnam after its glorious victory against the French at Dien Bien Phu in 1954. President Ho Chi Minh went to India in February 1958. In 1954, India opened its consulate general in Ha Noi. In 1956, Vietnam opened its consulate general in New Delhi. Full diplomatic relations were established on 7th January, 1972.

1. Political relations:

Vietnam and India have always enjoyed good political relations and exchanged lots of high-level visits.

a. Vietnamese leaders’ visits to India:
General Secretaries of CPV Le Duan (1984), Nguyen Van Linh (1989), Do Muoi (1992) and Nong Duc Manh (2003) have visited India. During Mr. Nong Duc Manh’s visit to India, the two sides signed a Joint Declaration on the framework of comprehensive cooperation between India and Vietnam as they enter the 21st century. President Tran Duc Luong visited India in 1999. Prime Ministers Pham Van Dong (1978, 1980), Vo Van Kiet (1997) and Nguyen Tan Dung (July 2007) have also visited India. During Mr. Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to India, the two sides signed a Joint Declaration to officially establish strategic partnership between the two countries. Chairman of the National Assembly of Vietnam visited India in 1994. Other important high-level visits during recent years include: visits by Foreign Minister of Vietnam Nguyen Dy Nien, Defence Minister General Pham Van Tra, and Fisheries Minister Ta Quang Ngoc in 2005; a Vietnamese delegation led by Former Vice President Nguyen Thi Binh attended Vietnam-India Friendship Festival in September 2007.

b. Indian leaders’ visits to Vietnam:
President Rajendra Prasad visited Vietnam in 1959. Subsequently, President R. Venkatraman (1991) Vice-President K.R. Narayanan (1993), Prime Minister Rajiv Gandhi (1985, 1988), Prime Minister Narsimha Rao (1994) and Prime Minister Atal Behari Vajpayee (2001) visited Vietnam. Speaker of Lok Sabha Shri Somnath Chatterjee visited Vietnam in March, 2007. Indian Minister of Home Affairs Shiva Patel visited Vietnam in October, 2007. 

Defence and Security Cooperation

The two countries have witnessed steady developments and expansion through exchange of defence and security visits at various levels, maintaining annual dialogues for information exchange.

2. In the fields of Economics, Science, Technology and Culture 

The two countries established the India-Vietnam Joint Commission for Economic, Scientific & Technical Cooperation on 18th December, 1982. This is a very important mechanism for the two sides to review and promote cooperation in all fields, including the formulation of an Action Plan for every 3 years. So far 13 meetings of the Joint Commission have taken place, alternatively in Hanoi and New Delhi. Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Pham Gia Khiem paid an official visit to India from February 26-28, 2007 and co-chaired the 13th meeting of the Joint Commission.

- Bilateral trade has been growing rapidly from 72 million USD (1995) to over 1,018 million USD in 2006, with an average growth rate of 20% per annum. The main items of Indian exports to Vietnam, with their percentage share during 2006 are: Animal feed ingredients (27.84%), Ordinary metals (8.1%), Plastic material (7.40%), pharmaceuticals (6.95%), machinery and equipment (5.5%), steel (5.04%), cotton (4.24%), medical ingredients (3.5%), chemical materials (3.23%), leather & textile material (3.16%), and pesticides (2.92%). The major items of Vietnam’s export to India are coal (14.69%), pepper (7.96%), tea (5.94%), coffee (5.61%), cinnamon (5.14%), rubber (5.01%), computer hardware and electronic goods (4.98%).

- India’s FDI to Vietnam was 580 million USD in 2006. There are significant changes in Indian direct investment to Vietnam in 2007 with Essar Group signing an MOU in January 2007 for setting up a hot rolling steel mill worth 527 million USD in Ba Ria – Vung Tau and Tata Steel signing an MOU to set up a steel complex in Thach Khe-Ha Tinh with estimated investment of US$ 3.5 billion. These projects make India among top-10 investors in Vietnam and Vietnam as the biggest receiver of Indian direct investment in ASEAN. So far, many other big groups from India have expressed their interest to invest in Vietnam.

- Indian Credit Lines: Since 1976, India has extended a variety of Lines of Credit to Vietnam. In 2004, India extended a credit line of $ 27 million to Vietnam. This credit was fully utilized and projects funded by this credit are operating efficiently. In 2007, India officially announced another credit line of 45 million USD for Nam Chien Hydropower project.

- Education and training, India annually provides about 100 scholarships both short and long-term. During 2006-2007, India provided 70 ITEC scholarships to Vietnam under ITEC Assistance and programmes. India also provides 20 scholarships under Cultural Exchange Programme (CEP) and 10 scholarships to Vietnam annually under the MGC scheme. More and more self-financed Vietnamese students go to India these days because of reasonable fees and English teaching advantage. The number amounts to around 100 every year. 

- Science and Technology: An agreement on bilateral cooperation in Science & Technology was first concluded in 1976, and renewed in 1996. A Joint Committee on Science & Technology was established in 1997. India-Vietnam Protocol on Information Technology was signed in 1999. The Government of India, through its two grants, is helping Vietnam in setting up of an Advanced Resources Centre in IT in Hanoi and also assisting in human resources development in IT in the country. Besides, there are some other projects, especially in bio-technology.

- Cooperation between India and Vietnam in other fields, namely culture, tourism, agriculture, aquaculture and transportation has developed well.

- So far, the two countries have signed various important bilateral treaties and agreements such as: Trade Agreement, Bilateral Investment Promotion and Protection, Avoidance of Double Taxation Agreement, Consular Agreement, Culture Agreement, Tourism, Air Service, Agreement on Cooperation in Science & Technology. In addition, two sides have also concluded many other MOUs in specialized sectors.



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