India – Vietnam Relations: Deepening Bilateral Ties for Mutual Benefit

By Rani Mullen and Kailash K Prasad
5 August 2013

The India-Vietnam bilateral relationship in the past has been supported by various commonalities including six decades of anti-colonial interests, pan-Asian nationalism and independent foreign policies. The first instance of India’s development cooperation towards Vietnam predates India’s 1991 ‘Look East Policy’ by thirty years. Importantly, during the past decade, with India’s rapid economic growth and its consequent desire for energy security, open trade through the South China Seas, and development partnership with South East Asia, the strategic and economic significance of Vietnam for India has grown manifold. Furthermore, increased cooperation with India also provides Vietnam with a crucialally and a measure of counterbalance to China’s increasing influence in the region as well as from the conflicting pressures coming from Russia and US. The significance of the bilateral relationship can be well noticed from the signing of crucial agreements in 2003, 2007 and 2011, directed towards enhancing overall cooperation between the two. Moreover, India’s development cooperation towards Vietnam in form of credit lines and grants as well as the quantum of trade between the two has also expeirenced a major boost during the past decade or so. Thus, taking these factors into consideration, in this piece we have tried to analyze in detail stregthening India-Vietnam relationship with a special focus on the diverse forms of India’s development cooperation directed towards this Southeast Asian nation which holds a pivotal position in India’s ‘Look East Policy’.