Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma has granted an interview to the Vietnam News Agency on the occasion of the 150th birthday anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi.
Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma at the interview
He has talked about the similaritiesin the ideologies of Gandhi and Vietnam’s President Ho Chi Minh, the achievementsand prospects of the India-Vietnam relationship, and his priorities during his workingterm in Vietnam.
The following is the full text of theinterview.
1: Mahatma Gandhi and President Ho Chi Minh have similar ideology in staying along with their colonized peopleagainst enemies. From this ideology, how have generations of leaders of Vietnamand India built and strengthened the relation between two countries? What canwe do to spread out this beautiful ideology of Mahatma Gandhi and President Ho Chi Minh?
Mahatma Gandhi’s ideals oftruth, non-violence, and human dignity and freedom, inspired the anti-colonialmovement in many countries in Asia and Africa, including the freedom strugglein Vietnam led by President Ho Chi Minh.
Both Mahatma Gandhi andPresident Ho Chi Minh, with their inspirational leadership, gave our people thecourage and confidence to overcome adversities and rise with fortitude againstformidable colonial powers.
The shared history ofstruggle for independence from colonial rule and the visionary leadership ofour founding fathers remain the bedrock of strong bonds of friendship andmutual affection between our two countries and our peoples, ever since theemergence of India and Vietnam as independent nations.
The successive generationof our leaders have nurtured and consolidated this bond, as our relationship transcendedfrom post-colonial solidarity to the new era of our Comprehensive StrategicPartnership.
We are celebrating the 150th birth anniversary of Mahatma Gandhi this year. Last year, we marked the 60th anniversary of President Ho Chi Minh’s visit to India. These areimportant occasions for us to reaffirm the values and ideals espoused by thetwo great leaders.
Our Embassy has organiseda number of events in the last one year to showcase the life and message ofMahatma Gandhi. Our scholars,academicians, media – all are playing an important role in highlighting thesemessages and their continued relevance today.
On September 24, PrimeMinister Modi spoke in the United Nations on the relevance of Mahatma Gandhi inthe contemporary world and highlighted his message of humanism, freedom,self-reliance and his values of non-violence and respect for nature, whichcontinue to provide us solutions to the problems being faced by the worldtoday.
2. Over 46 years since the establishmentof the diplomatic relations between two countries (1973-2019), Vietnam andIndia have achieved much impressive development in many areas. Can you evaluate some prominent achievementsin the relation between two countries and potential in near future?
Today, India-Vietnam relationsare characterized as Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
It covers multifacetedengagement in diverse areas – ranging from political engagement totrade and investment ties, energy cooperation, development partnership, defenceand security cooperation and people-to-people relations.
This wide range ofengagement itself reflects the special relationship we share and the depth ofour mutual trust and understanding.
Our bilateral trade hasdoubled in the last three years alone and is likely to reach 15 billion USD by2020. Our business and industries arelooking at opportunities in each other’s country with greaterexpectations.
We are also building newpartnerships in emerging sectors such as information and communicationtechnology, renewable energy, innovation etc. The young demography of both ourcountries opens new opportunities for cooperation in diverse sectors.
India’s developmentpartnership with Vietnam over the last four and half decades has left asuccessful legacy and institution building and human resource development. Wewill do more to bring our projects and programmes closer to the people. We will also promote greater capacitybuilding through our flagship ITEC (Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation)programme, in which Vietnam is one of our major partners.
Our defence partnershiphas expanded into areas such as defence industrial and technologicalcooperation. This will open newer opportunities.
In the regional and globalcontext, India and Vietnam regularly consult with each other and share similarviews on many important issues. Most importantly, we have developed a long-termstrategic view of our relationship based on the vision for peace and prosperityof our shared Indo-Pacific region.
Vietnam is pivotal toIndia’s Act East Policy and its Indo-Pacific vision. Vietnam is also aninvaluable link in India’s engagement with ASEAN.
As Vietnam assumes theChairmanship of ASEAN next year and joins the UN Security Council as anon-permanent member, we will further enhance our consultations andcoordination with Vietnam on important regional and international issues.
3. As Ambassador of India to Vietnam from August2019, can you share some of your feelings about Hanoi and Vietnam? What are your priorities in your tenure inVietnam?
I arrived in Hanoi twomonths ago.
What has struck me most isthe warmth of the people of Vietnam and their enthusiasm and confidence abouttheir future. The whole nation exudes the dynamism that reflects its status asone of the fastest growing economies in the world.
I have also been deeplyimpressed by an overwhelmingly positive sentiment towards India and areaffirmation of our long tradition of supporting each other’s nationaldevelopment and aspirations.
During my tenure inVietnam, I would wish to focus on bringing our people closer together throughbetter connectivity. This will also bekey to enhancing our tourism as well as trade and economic ties. Our common Buddhist heritage offers asignificant attraction for the people of Vietnam and we can build on this themein a big way. We hope that the expectedlaunch of direct flights staring in October will be a good beginning in thisdirection.
We would also like todeepen our development partnership and make a tangible contribution to thesocio-economic development of people.
Developing closer defenceand security partnership as well as constantly promoting consultations onimportant regional and global issues are other priority areas.
We will also be keen topromote practical regional cooperation with Vietnam under the rubric of ourIndo-Pacific vision.
Overall, I remain highlyoptimistic of the future of our relationship and believe that as two importantcountries of the Indo-Pacific and as two of the fastest growing economies, ourrelations are destined to play an increasingly important role in the region andin the world./. VNA