Selling “Brand India” in Vietnam

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  1. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    In recent engagement with Vietnam, India has demonstrated its soft power capabilities.

    Since the election of Narendra Modi as India’s Prime Minister, New Delhi has appeared determined to create “Brand India” by harnessing its soft power resources. This was very much on display at the meeting Modi had with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung, during the latter’s visit to New Delhi late last month.

    The two leaders used the occasion to sign seven agreements. Unsurprisingly, the bulk of media coverage was directed at hard-nosed issues like the South China Sea, defense and security, energy cooperation, and trade. Unquestionably, these factors are playing a crucial role in Indo-Vietnamese ties. But no fewer than five of the seven deals focused on aspects of soft power, like religion, education, media interaction, and cultural cooperation. This is important evidence that New Delhi is exploiting its soft resources to enhance ties with its southeastern neighbor.

    India’s External Affairs Minister Sushma Swaraj signaled this during her visit to Hanoi in August. Addressing the Third Round Table on ASEAN-India Network of Think tanks, Swaraj “spoke about the need for greater people-to-people contact, a relaxed visa regime, and also the need for improving connectivity within the region.”

    Earlier still, in March the Indian Embassy in Vietnam sought to boost intercultural understanding with the first “Festival of India,” a ten-day affair that was held in Hanoi, Danang, and Ho Chi Minh City. An arguably more important effort to enhance connectivity and cooperation came with the recent introduction of direct flights from India to Vietnam. Starting November 5, 2014, these flights offer easier access facilitating better economic cooperation and interaction between the two countries.

    Soft Power Appeal

    Former External Affairs Minister of India Shashi Tharoor once said that it is not the size of the army or of the economy that matters, but it is the country that tells the “better story” that qualifies as a global player. To judge the success of “India’s story” in Vietnam, let’s look at the main components of its soft power in Hanoi. Broadly these can be categorized into political factors, religious factors, cultural factors, enhanced media interaction, sharing of knowledge resources, and tourism.

    On the face of it, it is hard to understand the appeal of the world’s largest democracy for a Communist country like Vietnam. Yet New Delhi’s appeal for Vietnam stems from the very factor that has been identified by some scholars as an impediment to its soft diplomacy: India’s multiple identities. While retaining its identity as a democracy, India has also preserved its image as an anti-colonial, non-aligned state whose cooperation with Hanoi dates back to early 1970s. Supplementing these long-standing ties, the Indian government in August 2014 declared its Act East Policy, which complements Vietnam’s inclination to look West, enhancing their political affiliations.

    Religious factors, too, have acted as a binder for India and Vietnam for several decades now. Indo-Vietnamese religious interactions can be traced to the ancient Cham civilization, when people from Orissa travelled to Vietnam, ultimately settling there, mingling cultures, customs, language, religions, and beliefs. Even today, these ties continue to hold significance. The recently concluded visit of Dung to India saw the signing of a memorandum of understanding for the Conservation and Restoration of the World Heritage Site of My Son, one of the foremost Hindu temple complexes in Southeast Asia built by the Champa kingdom.

    Another religion that has played a crucial role in harnessing India’s soft power in Vietnam is Buddhism. Today, Buddhism is identified as one of the three major religions of Vietnam and accounts for nearly 16.4 percent of its population. Given this background, it was not surprising that during the recent meeting, the two countries signed a memorandum of understanding on the establishment of the Nalanda University, at Rajgir, the birthplace of Buddhism. With the signing of this agreement, Vietnam became the twelfth international country to support this project.

    With some of its population migrating to Hanoi in the 19th century, India and Vietnam also share strong cultural ties. The Indian Council for Cultural Relations (ICCR) has been trying to preserve this by organizing several cultural festivals; however, it is yet to open a Cultural Office in Vietnam. There is speculation that this will be in place before the end of the year. In the meantime, the Indian diaspora in Vietnam has been playing a pivotal role in facilitating cultural interaction and cooperation. Although a relatively small group of 2000 people, this community is culturally very active, celebrating major Indian festivals like Holi and Diwali, introducing locals to Indian traditions. Swaraj during her visit not only acknowledged this but also praised the contribution of the diaspora to Vietnam’s development. A Cultural Exchange program for 2015-17 to facilitate deeper cultural exchange and cooperation was also concluded while the Vietnamese prime minister was in Delhi last month.

    The media has also been instrumental in encouraging bilateral understanding. Writing in 2003, Indian foreign policy analyst C Raja Mohan observed, “Bollywood has done more for Indian influence abroad than the bureaucratic efforts of the government.” While in Vietnam these films were banned for a few years “due to royalty payments,” they returned in September 2012. Screened with Vietnamese subtitles, the movies have given Vietnamese insights into Indian culture. In recent months, India and Vietnam have shown an interest in diversifying media interaction through their respective radio agencies. A recent memorandum between the two governments calls for cooperation on broadcasting between India’s Prasar Bharti, and Vietnam’s Voice of Vietnam for the exchange of audio-visual programs. In the absence of an Indian state-funded international news channel, media interactions like these play an important role.

    India has also had a pivotal role in setting up a host of capacity-building institutions in Vietnam. In 1977, the government of India provided technical expertise and equipment to set up Vietnam’s first rice research institutes: the Cuu Long Delta Rice Research Institute (CLRRI). Aftab Seth, a former Indian ambassador to Vietnam, has noted that this assistance enabled Vietnam to become one of the world’s leading rice exporters.

    Additionally, under its Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) program, India offers 150 scholarships to Vietnam annually. Today, top Indian IT companies like NIIT, APTECH and Tata Infotech, have opened more than 80 franchises across Vietnam, to develop these IT skills. More recently, the two countries formalized last year’s declaration that they would establish an IT training center at the National Defense Academy of Vietnam. A watershed moment in India’s IT diplomacy came last November when Vietnam became the first country to get a supercomputer from India. The computer will power Vietnam’s PARAM High Performance Computing Facility at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology. India has also agreed to help Hanoi set up the Indira Gandhi High-Tech Cyber Forensic Laboratory.

    While India and Vietnam have been active in stepping up interaction in the political, cultural, religious and intellectual domains, people-to-people contact remains limited. The Times of India reported that tourism between India and Vietnam has been surprisingly low, despite India conferring the visa-on-arrival facility for Vietnamese nationals in January 2011. The number of Indian tourists visiting Vietnam has been similarly unimpressive. Hoang Thi Diep, vice chairperson of Vietnam’s National Administration of Tourism, noted that Indians comprised only 10,000 of Vietnam’s 7.5 million tourists in 2013. Given the start of direct flights between India and Vietnam, these numbers may escalate.

    Clearly, India has a number of levers it can pull to exercise its soft power in Vietnam. While some scholars argue that India’s soft power has fallen short of expectations, recent events suggest that New Delhi’s efforts in this area might be about to bear some fruit. A 2014 Pew Survey on the popularity of Asian countries revealed that 67 percent of Vietnamese have a favorable view of India. This is likely to increase as India moves forward under its new leadership to promote “Brand India.”

    Sadhavi Chauhan is Senior Research Fellow, International Strategic and Security Studies Programme, National Institute of Advanced Studies, Bangalore.

    Selling “Brand India” in Vietnam | The Diplomat
     
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  3. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    List of documents signed during the State Visit of Prime Minister of Vietnam to India (October 27-28, 2014)

    1. Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of India and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam on the Establishment of Nalanda University

    Nalanda University, located in Rajgir in Nalanda District of the State of Bihar, is a non-state, non-profit, self-governing international institution which aims to bring together the brightest and the most dedicated students from all countries for the pursuit of intellectual, philosophical, historical and spiritual studies and thus, achieve qualities of tolerance, accommodation and mutual understanding. The MoU has been earlier signed by 10 countries from the EAS and 1 non-EAS country as part of the international support to the University.


    2.Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of India and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for the Conservation and Restoration of the World Heritage Site of My Son, Quang Nam Province, Vietnam


    The MoU flows from the proposal of the Government of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam requesting India’s expertise and assistance in restoration of Group of Temples at the World Heritage Site of My Son, Quang Nam Province of Vietnam and the subsequent ‘Initial Conservation Report and Project Plan’ of Archaeological Survey of India of May 2011. The project, estimated to be around 16 crore rupees, is to be funded by the Ministry of External Affairs, Government of India. The project will be implemented by Archaeological Survey of India on behalf of Government of India.


    3.Memorandum of Understanding between the Republic of India and the Socialist Republic of Vietnam for Establishing the Centre for English Language and Information Technology Training at the Telecommunications University, Ministry of Defense, Vietnam


    Under the MoU, the Vietnam-India Centre for English Language and Information Technology Training will be set up at the Telecommunications University, Ministry of Defense of Vietnam. The Centre will provide a permanent venue for teaching English language and information technology for raising the general level of proficiency of trainees in these skills. It shall train and upgrade the skills of English language teachers from schools and training institutions of the armed forces and also prepare students for tests essential for tertiary education. It will strive to develop into a Centre for Excellence while at the same time, collaborate with other Centres of English and IT education set up in Vietnam with the assistance of the Government of India. The Ministry of External Affairs of the Government of India shall be entrusted with implementing of the project.

    4.Cultural Exchange Programme for 2015-17 between the Ministry of Culture, Republic of India and Ministry of Culture, Sports and Tourism of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

    The Cultural Exchange Programme aims to strengthen cooperation, cultural exchanges between India and Vietnam through organizing art, exhibitions, exchanging cultural and art troops, organizing folklores, art performance activities in both countries. The Programme shall facilitate exchange of records on classical, traditional and folk music and dance, photographs, pictures and publications on performing arts. India and Vietnam shall also endeavour to share information and experience in the field of cultural heritage protection and promotion.


    5.Memorandum of Understanding for Cooperation on Broadcasting between Prasar Bharti, Republic of India and the Voice of Vietnam, Socialist Republic of Vietnam for Exchange of Audio-Visual Programmes


    The MoU aims to increase cooperation in the field of broadcasting through exchange of programmes in the fields of culture, education, science, entertainment, sports and news. India and Vietnam shall also encourage mutual participation by informing each other of significant cultural, economic, political and social events, festivals and competitions taking place in their respective countries.

    6.Heads of Agreement between ONGC Videsh Limited and PetroVietnam

    The Heads of Agreement between OVL and PetroVietnam aims to enhance mutual cooperation between India and Vietnam in hydrocarbon sector. The Agreement underlines Vietnamese invitation to OVL to expand it’s presence in Vietnam and further consolidate cooperation in exploration and other areas between the two countries in energy sector.

    7.Memorandum of Understanding between ONGC and PetroVietnam

    This MoU signifies strengthening partnership between India and Vietnam in energy sector. India welcomes PetroVietnam’s participation in blocks agreed upon in the MoU. The MoU paves way for future collaboration between the two countries in this area.

    http://www.mea.gov.in/bilateral-doc...inister+of+Vietnam+to+India+October+2728+2014
     
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  4. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    Deleted..Chinese Post..I meant Duplicate post!!
     
    Last edited: Nov 26, 2014
  5. sorcerer

    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    India plans to set up Cyber Forensic Lab in Vietnam

    In a significant move to counter growing Chinese penetration into Vietnam’s virtual world, India is planning to set up a hi-tech Cyber Forensic Laboratory named after former Prime Minister Indira Gandhi in Hanoi.

    The new set-up -- Indira Gandhi Hi-tech Cyber Laboratory -- would have complete forensic workstations, including several portable ones equipped with best technological solutions, to handle new age crime in the eighth most populous Asian country that would host 2019 Asian Games.

    India has been working closely with Hanoi to combat the criminal misuse of cyber and wireless facilities. Earlier, an expert team had provided hands-on training to Vietnamese police officers.

    Last month, Chinese hackers had targeted the police department functioning under the Ministry of Public Security of Vietnam. Hundreds of Vietnamese websites, including that of government departments and sensitive agencies, fell prey to Chinese hackers in 2011 as well.

    The proposed Indian lab would detect the remote agents on computers and locate the origin of such malware and spyware-laced e-mails.

    It would provide assistance to the Vietnamese Police in investigating such crimes and also have an exclusive Cellphone Forensic Unit (CPFU) equipped to extract data from Chinese phones, in case of any criminal misuse.

    Unlike popular software used to extract data, the CPFU would have an advanced version for forensic examination of data.


    India plans to set up Cyber Forensic Lab in Vietnam - The New Indian Express
     
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    sorcerer Senior Member Senior Member

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    India and Vietnam Continue to Make Important Strategic Inroads

    Nguyen Phu Trong, the general secretary of the Communist Party of Vietnam, is about to conclude a major bilateral visit to New Delhi. The visit seems to have reinvigorated the already-warm relationship between the two Asian countries, and saw agreements affecting the future of the India-Vietnam relationship in the South China Sea (SCS). Beginning with this visit, New Delhi will be spending the next few months on its diplomatic calendar looking east, with South Korean President Park Geun-Hye and Japanese President Shinzo Abe also expected in New Delhi soon.

    Over the course of the visit this week – the third such major bilateral visit conducted by Vietnamese officials since 2011 – India and Vietnam signed several agreements and a major Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). If there were any doubts about the strategic breadth and depth of the relationship – which was upgraded to a strategic partnership in 2007 – the agreements should put these doubts to rest.

    India made strides in the long-delayed realization of its “Look-East Policy” by extended a US$100 million credit line to the Vietnamese for defense purchases. The Vietnamese have expressed interest in the India-Russia jointly-developed BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. Additionally, the two signed an air services agreement to increase direct air travel between the two countries and an agreement to set up a “high tech crime lab in Hanoi” – something that had been discussed earlier this year. The lab, known as the Indira Gandhi Hightech Crime Lab (IGHCL), is supported by an Indian financial grant that was also agreed upon during the current visit.

    On the trade front, the two countries set a bilateral trade target of US$7 billion by 2015. Vietnam awarded an important contract to India’s Tata Power Ltd. for the “development of the Long Phu 2 coal-fired power plant project in Soc Trang, Vietnam,” according to the Indo-Asian News Service. India marked a landmark in its diplomacy by, for the first time, gifting a supercomputer to another country – Vietnam’s PARAM High Performance Computing Facility at the Hanoi University of Science and Technology will be powered by the computer.

    India’s aggressive generosity across the board seems to have paid off. In return for its encouraging engagement with Vietnam, the Vietnamese stated that they appreciated India’s “constructive role” in the South China Sea. India is clearly interested in drawing Vietnam squarely into its sphere of influence to balance China in the region (as is Russia), and the two have an increasingly deep level of defense ties. India has provided support and training for Vietnamese submarine crews.

    India, which has cooperated with Vietnam on offshore exploration for oil in the SCS before, was offered seven oil blocks for offshore exploration by the Vietnamese. India-Vietnam cooperation in this air has raised China’s ire in the past. The Times of India reports that “When India wanted to abandon oil block 128 off Vietnam in the South China Sea last year because there’s really no oil there, Hanoi asked New Delhi to stay back until 2014. This was at a time when China was flexing its muscles over Beijing’s claims in the South China Sea.”

    India’s approach to Vietnam has changed from one based mostly in post-colonial solidarity to one increasingly based in strategic foresight. The economic side of the relationship did not really open up until recent years given the delays in liberalization in India and Vietnam’s economic insularity under its communist regime. The relationship’s major strategic complementarity lies in the fact that as they build up their relationship, both India and Vietnam will find themselves with increasingly more leverage against China. For India, Vietnam is a pivotal node in its attempt to blur the lines between its Indian Ocean and SCS interests.

    The Vietnamese have always seen India as an important Asian partner, recalling its support during the Cambodia-Vietnam War decades ago. India, in Vietnam’s strategic outlook, is a viable counterweight to China. In recent years, Vietnam has been keen to invite India into the South China Sea for oil and resource exploration. It even went to the extent of offering India exploratory access within sections claimed by China (India chose not to pursue the option due to the technological unfeasibility of resource extraction). Vietnam is sure to continue courting India as a major partner given India’s receptiveness. As the two continue to cooperate on defense and energy matters, the relationship can only grow more important in determining geopolitical outcomes in the Indo-Pacific region.

    India and Vietnam Continue to Make Important Strategic Inroads | The Diplomat
     

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