With China watching, India, Vietnam to deepen economic embrace

In a clear signal that Vietnam is a special friend and strategic partner of New Delhi, India will be rolling out the red carpet for Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung Oct 27-28, a visit that comes just five weeks after President Pranab Mukherjee’s high-profile trip to Hanoi.
The core focus of the visit will be economic as strategic and defence ties were dealt with exhaustively during President Mukherjee’s trip. The two countries have already exceeded their trade target of $7 billion set for 2015 ahead of schedule, and will be looking to map out new opportunities emerging in the economic arena. This economic focus will be reflected in the 50-strong delegation comprising a veritable who’s who of Vietnam’s business word the Vietnamese prime minister will be bringing with him to India.
Although the focus of the forthcoming trip by Vietnam’s prime minister will be predominantly economic, the symbolic significance will not be lost on China, which has warily looked at the closer Delhi-Hanoi strategic and economic embrace with a distinct unease. China has repeatedly objected to Indian companies’ involvement in oil exploration in South China Sea, which it claims in entirety. But India has made it clear that its energy cooperation with Vietnam is strictly bilateral, and does not impact the interests of any third country.

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President Mukherjee’s visit to Vietnam: Buddha, energy and strategy on agenda

Buddha, energy and strategy. They may sound like a fusion menu of sorts, but India’s President Pranab Mukherjee’s first state visit to Vietnam will deftly coalesce diverse strands that make the texture of the vibrant India-Vietnam relationship.

Mukherjee travels to Vietnam on a state visit from September 14 to September 17, which will telescope the trend of multi-alignment in India’s foreign policy. This essentially means aligning with different countries which may be at odds with each other to promote India’s national interests. Significantly, Mukherjee’s visit to Hanoi will be followed by the big-ticket visit of Chinese President Xi Jinping to India.

While China is Vietnam’s largest trading partner, the two countries are not exactly on the best of terms as Vietnam resents what it sees as China’s assertive posturing in South China Sea. India, on the other hand, has shown a talent for juggling its relations with both China and Vietnam.

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