India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi and Vietnam’s PM Nguyen Xuan Phuc will hold a virtual summit on Monday, December 21, Vietnam’s Foreign Ministry’s Spokesperson Le Thi Thu Hang has announced.
This will be the first such virtual summit of PM Modi with an ASEAN country. Vietnam is the chair of the ASEAN grouping this year and recent years have seen a number of high-level engagements and visits.
“During the Summit, the two leaders will exchange views on wide-ranging bilateral, regional and global issues and provide guidance for the future development of India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership,” an official statement by the Ministry of External Affairs read.
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Indian President Ram Nath Kovind had visited the country in 2018 and Vice President Venkaiah Naidu in 2019. President of Vietnam Tran Dai and PM Phuc both were in India in 2018. During the 2016 visit of PM Modi, ties between India and Vietnam were elevated to “comprehensive strategic partnership”, a status Vietnam shares with only two other countries — Russia and China.
The India Vietnam virtual summit will be the ninth virtual summit of the Indian PM. He has had virtual summits with Australia, EU, Sri Lanka, Denmark, Italy, Luxembourg, Uzbekistan, and Bangladesh so far. Earlier this month, under this new form of digital diplomacy, he had had virtual summits with his Uzbek and Bangladeshi counterpart.
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Last month speaking to WION, Vietnam’s envoy to India, Pham Sanh Chau said, “India is a very important country, it is going to be the global partner for ASEAN and as a global player India will assume responsibility in many many fields. So we need to strengthen further cooperation that has been in existence between ASEAN and India, also between India and Vietnam.”
New Delhi sees Vietnam as the vital pillar of its ‘Act East Policy’ and an essential partner in ‘Indo-Pacific Ocean’s Initiative (IPOI)’.
Vietnam is among 11 countries where India under its defense cooperation has deputed Mobile training teams. Defense Lines of Credit worth US$ 600 million being oriented towards strengthening Vietnam’s domestic defense manufacturing. Both India and Vietnam will serve concurrently as non-permanent members at the United Nations Security Council in 2021.
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