The article said one of the mainstays of Indian foreign policy under the Modi government has been its “Act East Policy,” which aims to bolster India’s closer engagement with Southeast Asia and East Asia. Vietnam is a key element of this policy (known earlier as the “Look East Policy”).
Hanoi is important for India’s outreach efforts in the Southeast Asian region, besides New Delhi’s plans for increasing its connectivity with the members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
India is constructing the India-Myanmar-Thailand highway, which is expected to be completed by 2019 and this could be linked up with pre-existing roads, all the way to Vietnam. While India’s ties with Vietnam have been progressing fast on all fronts, it is important for both the sides to address the challenges confronting the relationship in order for it to reach its full potential, it said.
It added that there is much for the two sides to ponder over in their economic cooperation. Though the two sides have set a bilateral trade target of US$15 billion by 2020, but this is a modest goal as comparing with the total trade between Vietnam and China in 2017, which stood at US$93.8 billion.
The Diplomat also pointed out the underdevelopment in people-to-people ties between the two countries as the number of tourists from Vietnam to India and vice versa is nothing much to crow about.