Talk by HE Pham Sanh Chau at the Vivekananda International Foundation on India-Vietnam relations, welcome address by Dr Arvind Gupta, Director VIF
Dear Friends,

It gives me great pleasure to welcome his Excellency Pham Sanh Chau to this virtual meeting being organised by the Vivekananda International Foundation. The Ambassador has kindly agreed to speak to us on the current state of affairs in India Vietnam relations. When Covid has abated, we would like to have the Ambassador physically at our premises.

Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau, born in 1961 in Myanmar, is a Vietnamese diplomat and educator with diverse international experience in multilateral affairs and cultural diplomacy.

The Amb assumed his post in India in November 2018. He is accredited to Nepal and Bhutan as well.

From 2011 to 2014 Amb Chau was Vietnam’s envoy to Luxembourg and the European Union.

In 2016, Pham Sanh Chau was appointed Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs.

He has also served as Special Envoy of Vietnam to UNESCO. Before that, he was Secretary-General of Vietnam National Commission for UNESCO.

From 2003 to 2007, he was Deputy Director General of the Institute of Foreign Affairs (now Diplomatic Academy of Viet Nam).

From 1984 to 1986, he served in the Artillery Division, Vietnam People’s Army.

In 1983 he joined the Ministry of Foreign Affairs and started his career as a news analyst at the Foreign Minister’s Office.

In 2011 he was awarded Vietnam’s Lifetime Ambassador title.

Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau is fluent in Vietnamese, English and French.

Dear Friends,

Next year we will be celebrating 50 years of our diplomatic ties. But our civilisational and people to people contacts are ancient. India and Vietnam have a time-tested partnership stretching back nearly 7 decades. Our relations have been marked by mutual trust, respect and close people to people ties. It is indeed a matter of great satisfaction that close India Vietnam relations have been unaffected by the massive changes in the global and regional situation over decades. Our ties have been trouble-free and forward looking.

Today, we are seeing a major rebalancing of equations over the world, particularly in Asia. The global centre of gravity is shifting to Asia. Covid has hastened the transition to new world order. The concept of Indo Pacific is taking shape. There are now serious questions about China’s rise and its impact.

Both India and Vietnam have been transformed. The growing political, economic and cultural ties between India and Vietnam are a factor of stability in the region.

Apart from bilateral relations, both countries have been cooperating in the framework of ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific (AOIP) and India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans Initiative (IPOI)

In the backdrop of significant changes in the global and regional landscape in recent years, particularly after the outbreak of Covid 19, India Vietnam comprehensive strategic partnership has assumed new significance.

The strategic importance of bilateral relations was reflected in the India - Vietnam Joint Vision for Peace, Prosperity and People issued on December 21, 2020following the Virtual Summit meeting of the leaders. Both countries have agreed to step up their defence and security partnership through enhanced military-to-military exchanges, training and capacity building programmes across the three services and coast guards.

The developments in the South China Sea, marked by China’s occupation of disputed islands and features, are a matter of great significance for both India and Vietnam. The leaders reaffirmed the importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea while pursuing the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS).

Vietnam is a surging economy. It is also attracting large amounts of foreign investment and technology. India has an attractive Make India program. The trade turnover was targeted to reach 15 billion USD but due to Covid impact could only reach about 12 billion plus. The potential needs to be exploited. Fresh opportunities have opened up for both countries to significantly enhance their economic and trade partnership.
This year’s changes in Vietnam’s political leadership have been welcomed by India. PM Modi has had exchanges with the new PM and all the four senior leaders i.e. President, Secretary General of the Party, PM and the Leader of the Congress are well known in India.

It will be most instructive for us to listen to his excellency’s views on the changing strategic landscape in the region and how it impacts bilateral relations.

I know the request him to kindly take the floor.

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