Geopolitics

China Factor in India-Vietnam Strategic Relations
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Issue Vol. 39.1, Jan-Mar 2024 | Date : 17 May , 2024

China’s President Xi Jinping visited Vietnam on 12-13 December, with whom China shares an important but complex relationship from a strategic perspective. While Laos and Cambodia are staunchly supportive of China within the ASEAN, Vietnam is most vociferous in calling out China’s assertive or aggressive military posturing in South East Asian Region1. A major shift has occurred in this regard during Xi’s visit when Vietnam which previously did not endorse China’s vision – “Community with Shared Future for Mankind”, has come to an agreement with China on this issue which carries strategic significance2. According to the Joint Statement issued on 13 December, “…. continue to deepen and further elevate the Vietnam-China Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership3, the two sides agreed to build a ‘Vietnam-China Community with a Shared Future’ having strategic significance”. According to China’s Foreign Minister Wang Yi this was a – “major historic decision made by the leaders of the two parties and countries, as well as the most important political achievement reached by the two sides”4. Critics, however, argue that the Vietnamese side has used the term “shared future” as against “common destiny” to not completely align with the Xi’s thought which is anti-western in orientation5. Vietnam has also endorsed China proposed initiatives such as the Global Development Initiative, Global Security Initiative, and the Global Civilization Initiative6.

The agreements between the two have been reached within the framework well expounded and practiced by China – “win-win cooperation, respect for each other’s sovereignty and territorial integrity, and persist with the settlement of differences through peaceful measures”7. Both countries see each other as a “strategic choice” and agreed to bring into full play the special role of the Party channel – CCP & VCP. Agreements to secure party’s legitimacy to govern and agreement to study the laws of Communist party governance has a been key accomplishment of Xi’s visit where a bonding founded on Marxism and Socialism is emphasized and agreed to. Prior to his visit, the Nhan Dan (People) newspaper ran an article by President Xi wherein he pre-disclosed the content of the joint declaration signed between the two countries. In this article Xi set forth the conditions for Sino-Vietnamese relations – “It is important that the two countries keep ‘strategic communication’ at high levels to ensure that the ship of China-Vietnam relations can break waves and keep making steady progress” and “should accelerate synergizing the BRI and the Two Corridors and One Economic Belt framework, and broaden cooperation in such areas as connectivity, SOE reform, green energy and critical minerals”. Xi, in a note of caution stated, “make due efforts to build an enabling external environment for each country’s respective development and to realize long-term stability and security in the region”8. A special emphasis was made with regard to ‘political trust’ and practical cooperation in defense to enhance ‘strategic trust’. Vietnam has reaffirmed its consistency in carrying out “One China” policy by recognizing Taiwan as an inseparable part of the Chinese territory, resolutely opposing any separatist activity seeking “Taiwan Independence”, supporting the principle of non-interference in internal affairs of other states, and not developing any state-level relations with Taiwan. The Vietnamese side holds that the issues of Hong Kong, Xinjiang and Xizang are China’s internal affairs (Joint Statement, 13 December)9. In bargain for aligning with China’s core interest, China supports Vietnam’s efforts in maintaining social stability, “ensuring national security”, and promoting national solidarity.10

This visit marked the 15th anniversary of the establishment of “Comprehensive Strategic Cooperative Partnership” between the two neighbors with a bloody yet by and large peaceful past and follows the historical visit by Vietnamese Party General Secretary Nguyen Phu Trong’sin October 2022 where in a 13-point joint statement, and agreements was reached by the two-party chiefs and carried out effectively since then11. During Xi’s visit 36 cooperation agreements were signed thus lifting the ties to a “new stage”12. Since Vietnam and China share a conflict-prone maritime relation some of the agreements signed between the two pertaining to this arena are;

1.   Both sides agreed to continue effective joint patrols on the Gulf of Tonkin and military ships’ mutual visits as well as deepen exchange and cooperation mechanisms between the naval and coast guard forces.
2.   Agreement on the establishment of a hot line receiving information on unexpected incidents arising from fisheries activities at sea
3.   Implement cooperation in releasing fish fries into and protecting aquatic resources in the Gulf of Tonkin.
4.   The two sides will soon sign an agreement on fishery cooperation in the Gulf of Tonkin.
5.  Continuing to effectively implement the agreement on vessel navigation in the free navigation area at the mouth of Bac Luan River.
6.  In-depth discussions on sea-related issues, and stress the need to better manage and actively address differences at sea, and maintain peace and stability in the East Sea and the region
7.  Agreement on cooperation in search and rescue at sea between Government of Vietnam and the Government of China.
8.  The two sides reach consensus on actively speeding up discussions on cooperation for joint development at sea, and on maritime boundary delimitation outside the mouth of the Gulf of Tonkin
9.   The two sides will continue to actively cooperate in less sensitive fields at sea and control differences at sea, avoiding acts that complicate the situation and expand disputes, and jointly maintaining stability at sea.
10. Continue to comprehensively and effectively implement the “Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the East Sea” (DOC) on the basis of consultations and consensus, work early reach a substantive and efficient “Code of Conduct in the East Sea” (COC)
Agreements Related to the Maritime Domain13

During Xi’s visit, both sides reached a consensus on future cooperation by focusing on the following six orientations;

Stronger Political Trust Exchanges between high-ranking leaders of the two Parties and countries; Special role for party channel and deepening the cooperation in the new era between the two Foreign Ministers.
More Practical Cooperation in defense – security Consolidation strategic tryst between the two Parties and States; carry out joint vision statement on defense cooperation until 2025; cooperation between the two militaries in the fields of political work; promoting joint patrol, exchanges between law enforcement agencies etc.
Deeper and More Practical Cooperation Jointly build “Two Corridors, One Belt”, and “Belt and Road”; Reforming state-owned enterprises and managing state capital etc., promote RCEP, ASEAN-China FTA, stability of production and supply chains.
More Solid Social Foundation Collaboration in AIIB, cooperation between State Bank of Vietnam and Bank of China. Build global clean energy cooperation partnership, exchange meteorological data in the flooding season. Build solid social foundation – cooperation in media and broadcasting targeted at young generation.
Further coordination Create an external environment beneficial to the development of each country and the Vietnam – China relations. Promote common values on peace and development. Construction of 3.0 ASEAN-China free trade agreement, boost Mekong-Lancang cooperation, protect core values of the WTO.
Better Management and Settlement of Differences Adhere to important common perceptions between senior leaders of the two parties and state. Pursue negotiations in accordance with “Vietnam-China agreement on basic principles guiding the settlement of sea-related issues” and 1982 UNCLOS. Effectively implement the “Declaration of the Conduct of Parties in the Esat Sea” (DOC).

 India in Vietnam’s Foreign Policy

Vietnam adopted the policy of“diversification and multilateralization of foreign relations” with “more friends, fewer enemies” and to “become a friend to all countries in the world community.” Since the end of Cold War, Vietnam adopted a policy of the three noes’: No foreign bases in Vietnam’s territory; No military alliances; and No going with one country against other countries. At present, Vietnam has been executing a “four noes’ and one depend” foreign policy and India is an important player in Vietnam’s foreign policy of diversified security relations with major powers in this regard14. This essay explores the impact of growing China-Vietnam strategic relations on India’s Act East Policy which is focused on Vietnam as its pillar. For Vietnam, India’s Act East Policy provides flexibity given a status-quo that is rapidly changing and increasingly unstable due to great power struggle unfolding in the SCS region. According to Vietnam’s Defense White Paper, China’s Belt and Road Initiative, the US Free and Open Indo-Pacific Strategy, and India’s Act East policy, among others are signs of the region being a boiling cauldron where great powers compete for influence15.

Call it a coincidence, a day prior to President Xi’s visit to Vietnam, Indian Army began a 11-day military exercise – “VINBAX-23”16 – with its Vietnamese counterparts in Hanoi and docked an anti-submarine warfare corvette INS Kadmatt at Manila (Philippines) on “a goodwill visit” to stress the robust bilateral relations between India and the Philippines on 14 December. INS Kadmatt was slated to take part in a “maritime partnership exercise” with an offshore patrol vessel of the Philippine Navy, BRP Ramon, in the South China Sea where tensions are high17. Philippines is now engaged in “contingency planning” – short of armed attack scenarios such as repelling Chinese forces from boarding vessels – in lieu of escalation in China’s use of its naval arm in the conduct of diplomacy and foreign policy18. Prior to Xi’s visit to Vietnam, the Chinese Coast Guard conducted operations to thwart Philippine from its resupply mission – operating outside the Scarborough Reef and again near the Second Thomas Shoal – through use of water cannon and ramming on 09 and 10 December. So, while President Xi was in Vietnam on 12 December, Philippines was summoning the Chinese Ambassador to protest back-to-back harassment at Sea.

China has viewed this situation a result of lack of caution on part of the US and Philippines in the SCS. On 03 April, both announced plans to expand the US-Philippines Enhanced Defense Cooperation Arrangement (EDCA) to include four new sites: Naval Base Camilo Osias in Santa Ana, Cagayan; Camp Melchor Dela Cruz in Gamu, Isabela; Balabac Island in Palawan; and Lal-lo Airport in Cagayan in addition to five already existing sites in strategic area19. In August, the US was in talks with Philippines to develop a port in the Batanes islands (north), less than 200 km (125 miles) from Taiwan20. Amidst incidents at sea and Xi’s visit, the strategic context of Xi’s visit was stated by China’s Ministry of Defense as – “we urge the US to stop presuming other’s behavior based on its own; or speculating on China with a zero-sum game mentality. What the US needs to do is to adopt an objective and rational attitude, meet China half-way from a correct perception, effectively manage differences and implement relevant commitments with concrete actions, so as to create conditions of putting bilateral military relations back on the right track”. The use of the term ‘correct perception’ constitutes the core challenge after the US experience of conditionally supporting China’s economic development in expectation of deep political reforms21. Xi’s recent visit to the US was an unsuccessful effort at re-igniting the bilateral military relations for China’s reluctance to re-establish strategic communication in the military and intelligence domain. A day prior to Xi’s visit to Vietnam, the US DOD officials underscored ‘Ironclad’ commitment to Philippines after China’s unsafe maneuvers22.

India-Vietnam defense relations too have been growing strong in particular under the strategic and comprehensive strategic partnership signed in 2007 and 2016 respectively. In 2022, both countries agreed on a Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defense Partnership towards 2030. India and Vietnam relations are now “strategic” in orientation given the rise of China23. During Indian Foreign Minister S. Jaishankar’s visit to Vietnam in October, the minister in his meeting with Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh on October 16 affirmed that – India considers Vietnam an important partner in the region in implementing its “Act East Policy”, and wants to constantly enhance the bilateral comprehensive strategic partnership. Regarding specific cooperation areas, Chinh spoke highly of collaboration in national defense-security, and suggested India continue its support to Vietnam in officer training, and boost cooperation in cybersecurity24. Both countries acknowledge the importance of the comprehensive partnership agreement and are making steady progress in many domains of bilateral relation including working towards the target of 20 billion USD in trade as set at the 18th meeting of the joint committee. Vietnamese Prime Minister Chinh further called on India to encourage its big groups to invest in Vietnam in such areas as infrastructure, seaports, logistics, oil and gas exploration and exploitation, and renewable energy25.

However, despite the strength of India-Vietnam relations growing it is not as consequential as that of Vietnam’s relations with other powers such as China and the US26. Vietnam which shares a huge trade relation with China (US $ 230.2 billion) and the US (US $142 billion)27, is symbiotically related to them through its dependence on imports from China for exports to the US market. The foreign policy choices made by Vietnam is determined by this reality. It is also true that when compared with China, India and its policies are considered favorably by the people of Vietnam28. Yet, China yields a greater influence with Vietnam. According to Misra (2022), “India-Vietnam relations to have structural limitations, notably, weak economic and cultural links, and only modest defense ties. Limited ability to meet Vietnamese expectations relegates India to being a passive partner giving Vietnam first mover advantage”29. Both India and Vietnam do not take position on each other’s core concern which involves China – 1) Vietnam does not take a position on India-China border standoff in Ladakh and 2) India does not take a stand on Vietnam’s claim in the South China Sea.

India lacks in resources and also political will to meet Vietnam’s security needs. The case of inking a deal on supersonic cruise missile – BrahMos – is a case in point. However, Vietnam is increasingly becoming crucial to India’s Act East policy and its quest to be an Artic player via the Pacific-maritime route from Russia’s Vladivostok and India’s port city of Chennai. In view of Vietnam’s maritime security, India gifted its in-service missile corvette, INS Kirpan, to Vietnam in July (2023) and began official level talks with Vietnam in June (2023) to export super-sonic cruise missile (BrahMos) after concluding talks with Indonesia and inking deals with Philippines. India has been pussyfooting inking its missile deal with Vietnam for more than two decades30 and despite shift from ‘look East’ to ‘act East’ it remains a rumor that Vietnam has inducted BrahMos in its services. Vietnam has shown interest in acquiring BrahMos in order to help strengthen its coastal defense operations in South China Sea and currently operates an indigenous KCT-15 anti-ship missiles (ASM) based on Russian Kh-35E (NATO reporting name: AS-20 Kayak, Russian designation: 3M24E) Anti-Ship Missile31.

India’s role in South China Sea region is showing signs of assertiveness where India has taken steps that regional middle powers, such as South Korea, Australia, and New Zealand, have been reluctant to take such as maritime cooperation with Vietnam for fear of invoking Chinese retaliation32. Vietnam reciprocated to India’s assertive policies by signing its first ever MoU on mutual logistics support which will allow the both sides to use each other’s base for repair and replacement of supplies33. India through its military exports to South East Asia wants to be a security provider, defense exporter and economic partner and Vietnam which shares territorial disputes with China is a key in India’s Act East Policy along with Japan. India’s quest for a maritime route from Russia’s Vladivostok and India’s port city of Chennai will allow Indian Navy to operate and register near permanent presence in the South China Sea where it has invested in oil rigs through Vietnam. Defense cooperation is the key driver of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership between the two countries. India thus constitutes Vietnam’s foreign policy objective of “one depend”.

Yet, India too like Vietnam and others formulates a strategy of not outrightly antagonizing China with whom both share deep economic relations. China’s strategic behavior in the context of its growing power and influence is certainly a key factor in contemporary times and future of Vietnam-India relations34. To put simply, the extent to which Vietnam’s foreign relation with India and other powers intensifies will depend on China as an important factor shaping the bilateral relationship35. The outgoing Vietnamese envoy in India Pham Sanh Chau (August, 2022) stated, “India, China are comprehensive strategic partners of Vietnam and we do not take sides”36. Furthermore, it is the Vietnam-China relationship which is a top-priority in Vietnam’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, multilateralization and diversification of external ties37. Vietnam increasingly looks at China for securing “independence in strategy” and “choice of development paths”. Leaving aside issues of maritime security, Vietnam’s communist party is equally concerned with foreign interference in its domestic affairs which threatens the VCP. In this regard, during Xi’s visit both sides agreed to boost intelligence cooperation and share experience on the issues of anti-interference, anti-secession, prevention and fighting of “peaceful evolution” and “color-revolution” of hostile and reactionary forces; strengthen cooperation in preventing and fighting legal violations in religion and managing non-governmental organizations, promote staff training; and step-up cooperation to protect the safety of organizations, businesses and citizens of one country in the other38. There has been major upgradation in inter-party relations, where both sides have agreed to “bring into full play the special role of party channel” which includes consultations on “inspection and discipline enforcement”39.

The foundation of Sino-Vietnam relationship – “Comrade and Brother” – is such that Vietnam does not ‘cooperate’ with other powers to extent of antagonizing or ‘struggling’ with China. Vietnam’s need for developing its relationship from a national development perspective through cooperation with China is as important as its need to balance against China in the security domain. The general Chinese assessment is that Vietnam, unlike the Philippines, will not work too closely with the U.S. to counter China continues to prevail40. For most major powers – China, Russia, the US, India, Japan, South Korea, and Australia – Vietnam has emerged as a key player in maintaining regional security and stability in the Indo-Pacific and SCS. For Vietnam too its independent and diversified foreign policy with India and others is aimed at this objective.

Conclusion: Implication for India’s Act East Policy

India’s Act East Policy is a spiking of its erstwhile Look East Policy and first announced by former Foreign Minister of India Sushma Swaraj during her first ‘stand-alone’ visit to South East Asia in Hanoi in August, 2014. According to Foreign Minister Sushma Swaraj – under the Modi government “it is time to make it Acting East and Vietnam has a huge role to play in it” and sought to explore “newer areas” of cooperation during the course of her bilateral visit. The visit followed Beijing’s positioning of an oil rig near the Paracel islands in May, 2014, which Hanoi claims as its territory and thus included an offer by Vietnam to India to hunt for oil and gas in the disputed South China Sea. India on its part made Hanoi the offer of $100 million line of credit for the purchase of four Offshore Patrol Vessels41.

Two years later in 2016 Vietnam bestowed India with the top status in its foreign policy vocabulary – Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. Vietnam has extended this status to others too recently – the US and Japan. India’s Act East Policy now includes a Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defense Partnership towards 2030. Vietnam’s growing partnership with major powers other than China constitutes the strategic context of Xi’s visit to Vietnam which according to joint statement – “the two sides agree that the state visit to Vietnam by Chinese Party General Secretary and President Xi Jinping is a “success” and an important milestone in the history of the relations of the two Parties and two countries…promoting peace, stability and development in the region and the world”. In many ways Xi’s visit was seminal where it has been able to come into agreement with Vietnam on the future of Sino-Vietnam relations based on conditions favorable to China. If China-Vietnam relationship progress as theorized in the joint statement, this relationship will be a model for China’s engagement with the region and be a litmus test in judging China’s cooperative and conflictual strands of strategy. China is not developing inert-state relations, but inter-party relations with Vietnam. This is also a trend in China’s relationship with Russia. However, Vietnam’s foreign policy of “one-depend” allows for risk in China’s quest for a “community of shared future” which according to Bharat Karnad is China’s effort at building a Tian Xia (Heavenly Order) with China at the center of it and that India must stop China from doing so.

China and Vietnam are challenged by four issues affecting their relationship – all of which pertain to their shared land and sea borders – remain outstanding42. China has agreed to support Vietnam in its efforts at “ensuring national security” and operates under conditions of China’s core interests. Xi’s visit is aimed at arresting the trend of Vietnam’s growing comprehensive strategic partnership with the US, Japan, India and others. The nature of Xi’s visit to Vietnam and its general approach towards relations with the US, Russia and India suggests that China seeks a “conditional” relationship” where Chinese views have a primacy. Given the resemblance in the domain of political ideology, China and Vietnam relations are unique and Xi’s visit has sought to institutionalize this. So far, India’s Act East policy and other initiatives have not called into question China’s red lines regarding peace and stability in the region and Vietnam in its relation with major powers has agreed not to threaten this red line. While India’s Act East policy is not a threat to China, China-Vietnam relationship after Xi’s visit will limit the influence of powers like India if it is not able to sustain a private sector in Vietnam. China’s FDI in Vietnam is just 6% (excluding investments from Hong Kong & Taiwan) when compared with South Korea (18%), Singapore (16%) and Japan (16%) and has state support for private sector43.

The idea of “trustworthy” as a concept in international relation scores low in Vietnam’s perception of China44. However, China’s perception remains that Vietnam will not work against China in concert with others as Philippines.45 Xi’s visit aims to alter Vietnam’s perception by building stronger relations with the Vietnam Communist Party and reorient it towards a new era. India must remain prepared for opportunities within China-Vietnam maritime relations to support Vietnam’s independent strategy and national development. The term “trustworthy” was used to describe India-Vietnam friendship – “India and Vietnam continue to have most trustworthy relations in contemporary times with broader convergence of interests and common concerns” – at the time of signing the ‘Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defense Partnership towards 2030’46. Xi’s visit to Vietnam marks a turning point and thus must inform the intensification of India’s Act East policy with Japan and Vietnam as its pillar in coming years. ‘Trust’ is a necessary but insufficient condition in this regard. Why else is the defense expenditure of Vietnam and of many countries in China’s neighborhood is increasing along with China’s rise47?

Endnotes

  1. Tomotaka Shoji (2012), “Vietnam, ASEAN, and the South China Sea: Unity or Diverseness” NIDS, Available at https://www.nids.mod.go.jp/english/publication/kiyo/pdf/2012/bulletin_e2012_2.pdf [Accessed on 17 December, 2023]. Sebastian Strangio (2023), “Vietnam Joins ASEAN Neighbors in Denouncing Chinese Map” The Diplomat, 01 September.
  2. “China, Vietnam agree to build community with shared future that carries strategic significance”, Xinhua, 12 December, 2023.
  3. First established in 2008.
  4. “Chinese FM says agreement to upgrade China-Vietnam ties highlight moment of Xi’s visit” Xinhua, 14 December, 2023.
  5. This is dispute given that in September, 2023 the State Council Information Office of the People’s Republic of China issued a White Paper titled, “A Global Community of Shared Future: China’s Proposals and Actions. Community of common destiny for mankind, officially translated as community with a shared future for mankind or human community with a shared future, is a political slogan used by the Chinese Communist Party (CCP) to describe a stated foreign-policy goal of the People’s Republic of China.
  6. China-Vietnam Joint Declaration 13 December, (2023).
  7. Ibid.
  8. “Chinese leader’s article sketches out Vietnam-China future cooperation orientations”Binh Duong News, 15 December, 2023.
  9. “Vietnam – China joint statement”, Vietnam+, 13 December, 2023. Available at https://en.vietnamplus.vn/vietnam-china-joint-statement/274831.vnp [Accessed on 14 December, 2023].
  10. China-Vietnam Joint Declaration 13 December, (2023).
  11. “Chinese top leader’s Vietnam visit to create new momentum for bilateral ties: experts” Vietnam +, 11 December, 2023.
  12. China, Vietnam lift ties to new stage, aiming for shared future, Xinhua, 13 December, 2023.
  13. “Vietnam, China sign 36 cooperation documents” Vietnam +, 12 December, 2023.
  14. Vietnam Defense White Paper – 2019.
  15. Linh Pham (2019), “Considering necessary military relations – new formulation in Vietnam Defense White Paper” Hanoi Times, 30 December.
  16. The Indian contingent comprises 45 personnel — 39 from an engineer regiment of the Bengal Engineer Group and six from the Army Medical Corps. The Vietnam People’s Army has deployed 45 personnel for the drill. VINBAX was instituted in 2018 and the first edition of the joint military exercise was conducted at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh. It is an annual training event conducted alternately in India and Vietnam.
  17. “Indian warship docks in Manila as tension ups in South China Sea”, The Times of India, 14 December, 2023.
  18. Alberto Carlos – Chief of the Philippines Western Command.
  19. “Philippines, U.S. Announce Locations of Four New EDCA Sites” US Department of Defense, 03 April. Available at https://www.defense.gov/News/Releases/Release/Article/3349257/philippines-us-announce-locations-of-four-new-edca-sites/ [Accessed on 16 December, 2023].
  20. Karen Lema & Poppy McPherson (2023) “Exclusive: U.S military in talks to develop port in Philippines facing Taiwan” Reuters, 31 August. Available at https://www.reuters.com/world/us-military-talks-develop-port-philippines-facing-taiwan-2023-08-30/ [Accessed on 16 December, 2023].
  21. Jonathan E. Hillman (2021), The Digital Silk Road: China’s Quest to Wire the World and Win the Future, Profile Books Lmt: London.
  22. “DOD Officials Underscore ‘Ironclad’ Commitment to Philippines After China’s Unsafe Maneuvers” The US Department of Defense, 11 December, 2023. Available at https://www.defense.gov/News/News-Stories/Article/Article/3613695/dod-officials-underscore-ironclad-commitment-to-philippines-after-chinas-unsafe/ [Accessed on 17 December, 2023].
  23. Harsh V. Pant (2018), “India and Vietnam: A “Strategic Partnership” in the Making” RSIS, 09 April.
  24. “Vietnam attaches importance to comprehensive strategic partnership with India: PM” Vietnam +, 16 October, 2023.
  25. “Vietnam attaches importance to comprehensive strategic partnership with India: PM”Vietnam +, 16 October, 2023.
  26. Tran Truong Thuy, Vietnam’s Relations with China and the US and the Role of ASEAN, NIDS, Available at https://www.nids.mod.go.jp/english/publication/joint_research/series14/pdf/chapter08.pdf [Accessed on 15 December, 2023].
  27. China’s General Administration of Customs says trade between China and Vietnam exceeded $200 billion for the first time in 2021, reaching $230.2 billion — a year-on-year increase of 19.7%. The Office of the U.S. Trade Representative says trade between the U.S. and Vietnam in 2022 totaled $142 billion, with U.S. exports since 2021 up 3% and imports up 25%.
  28. THE STATE OF SOUTHEAST ASIA 2022, SURVEY REPORT. Available at https://www.iseas.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/2022/02/The-State-of-SEA-2022_FA_Digital_FINAL.pdf [Accessed on 15 December, 2023].
  29. Jitender Nath Misra (2022), “The China Factor in Vietnam’s View of India” IDSS Paper, 27 September. Available at https://www.rsis.edu.sg/rsis-publication/idss/ip22053-the-china-factor-in-vietnams-view-of-india/ [Accessed on 15 December, 2023].
  30. Bharat Karnad
  31. “Vietnam to launch Kh-35-based Anti-ship Missile Production” Navy Recognition, June, 2016.
  32. Dr. Huynh Tâm Sáng (2022), “The Growing Importance of Vietnam to India’s South China Sea Policy” Journal of Indo-Pacific Affairs, Air University Press. Available at https://www.airuniversity.af.edu/JIPA/Display/Article/2980923/the-growing-importance-of-vietnam-to-indias-south-china-sea-policy/ [Accessed on 15 December, 2023].
  33. Kiran Sharma (2022), “India-Vietnam defense ties on upswing as both eye China” Nikkie, 04 July.
  34. Bejoy Sebastin (2021), “The China factor in India’s recent engagement with Vietnam” Modern Diplomacy, 05 January. Available at https://moderndiplomacy.eu/2021/01/05/the-china-factor-in-indias-recent-engagement-with-vietnam/ [Accessed on 15 December, 2023].
  35. James Bellacqua (2012), “The China Factor in U.S.-Vietnam Relations” Center for Naval Analysis, March. Available at https://www.cna.org/archive/CNA_Files/pdf/drm-2012-u-000184-final.pdf [Accessed on 15 December, 2023].
  36. Dinakar Peri (2022), “India, China comprehensive strategic partners of Vietnam: outgoing Vietnamese envoy” The Hindu, 28 August. Available at https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/both-india-and-china-strategic-partners-of-vietnam-no-zero-sum-game-outgoing-envoy/article65823088.ece [Accessed on 15 December, 2023].
  37. Vietnam-China Joint Statement, 12-13 December, 2023.
  38. China-Vietnam Joint Statement, 13 December, 2023.
  39. Ibid.
  40. Derek Grossman and Paul Orner (2021), “Tracking Chinese Perceptions of Vietnam’s Relations with China and the United States” Asia Policy (RAND), Volume 16, Number 2 (April).
  41. “Modi govt to give greater push to India’s Look East Policy, says Sushma Swaraj” First Biz, 25 August, 2014. Available at https://web.archive.org/web/20140910195033/http://firstbiz.firstpost.com/economy/modi-govt-give-greater-push-indias-look-east-policy-says-sushma-swaraj-94718.html [Accessed on 17 December, 2023].
  42. Ang Cheng Guan (2008), “Vietnam-China Relations Since The End Of The Cold War Ang Cheng Guan” Institute of Defense and Strategic Studies, November.
  43. https://www.statista.com/statistics/899873/vietnam-fdi-inflows-distribution-by-country/
  44. Sharon Seah and Indira Zahra Aridati (2023), “Vietnamese Perceptions in a Changing Sino-US Relationship” ISEAS Yusof Ishak Institute, 04 September. Available at https://www.iseas.edu.sg/wp-content/uploads/2023/07/ISEAS_Perspective_2023_69.pdf [Accessed on 15 December, 2023]
  45. Derek Grossman and Paul S. Orner (2021), “Tracking Chinese Perceptions of Vietnam’s Relations with China and the United States” Asia Policy, volume 16, number 2 (April, 2021), 103–27.
  46. “Raksha Mantri Shri Rajnath Singh & his Vietnamese counterpart General Phan Van Giang hold bilateral talks in Hanoi” Ministry of Defense, 08 June, 2022.
  47. https://www.trade.gov/country-commercial-guides/vietnam-defense-and-security-sector [Accessed on 20 December, 2023]
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The views expressed are of the author and do not necessarily represent the opinions or policies of the Indian Defence Review.

About the Author

Dr Rajasimman Sundaram

teaches history, politics, and culture and a member of the Institute of BRICS Studies and College of Multi-Languages at Sichuan International Studies University [四川外国语大学] (The People’s Republic of China)". 

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