Why PM’s Modi visit to Vietnam matters & Why China will be watching

With China closely watching amid the ongoing ferment in the South China Sea, Prime Minister Narendra Modi will head to Vietnam, the first stop of his extended overseas trip which will impart a greater strategic traction to India’s Act East policy at the dual ASEAN and EAS summits in Laos.
The importance of Mr Modi’s maiden visit to Vietnam, an emerging ASEAN economy and a crucial plank in the maritime stability in the region, can’t be overstated. Over the years, Vietnam has morphed into a trusted strategy ally of India due to a host of reasons, with China’s assertive posturing in South China Sea driving the two countries in a closer embrace.
PM Modi’s visit to Vietnam will put the spotlight on an intersection of India’s Act East Policy and Hanoi’s Act West Policy as they deepen their military and economic partnership. Building upon the ongoing transformation of the defence relationship, one can expect India to play a bigger role in Vietnam’s military modernisation. In the military sphere, there is a convergence of interests and a demand-supply fit which will ensure that the relationship keeps growing.
Moving beyond merely strategic calculations, what imparts an emotional resonance to India-Vietnam relations is deeply felt solidarity and connections of heart and mind, as exemplified in spiritual linkages of Buddhism and the enduring popularity of Indian films among the Vietnamese people. Instead of getting lost in a strategic maze, the two countries are rightfully focusing on enhancing people-to-people bonds through travel, tourism and cultural contacts.
Taking strategy is no excuse for not seeing the country with your own eyes. It’s time to open the unusual door, see more and open new vistas in this mutually invigorating partnership. Read more…

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Australia names Indian-origin diplomat as its envoy to India, upbeat on CECA

As India’s relations with Australia move to the next high-growth phase, Canberra has announced the appointment of Indian-origin diplomat Harinder Sidhu as the country’s next High Commissioner to India. It’s fitting that an Indian-origin diplomat is being sent to New Delhi to shepherd burgeoning bilateral ties when the two countries are in the process of implementing an ambitious multi-pronged agenda laid down during Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s visit to Australia in November 2014.

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