Vietnam’s natural resources, including oil and gas, and its booming economy have attracted the nation of India, and the two have recently signed an accord to promote oil exploration along the Vietnamese shore. According to reports on October 12, 2011, the agreement was signed between Oil and Natural Gas Corporation Limited, Videsh Limited, the Vietnam Oil and Gas Group, and the National Oil Company of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam. The accord was signed in the presence of honourable Prime Minister of India Dr. Manmohan Singh and the President of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam Mr. Truong Tan Sang.
The intention of this agreement is to develop long-term co-operation in the oil and gas industry between the two nations, which would be effective for three years. It consisted primarily of new investments towards the exploration and supply of oil and gas. The companies were passionate to exchange information on the petroleum industry and new investments. Other key areas where they showed partnership ambition were in expansion and operation of oil and gas exploration and production.
Reports also indicate that China and Vietnam have agreed to strengthen military ties and establish a good relationship between high-ranking officers. A hotline was established for the respective defence ministers. The two countries agreed upon a joint patrol along the land borders, continuing with joint naval patrols in the Beibu Gulf. The Vietnamese Communist Party’s chief Nguyen Phu released a joint statement when he visited China. Media reports indicate that this is a step to minimize tension between the two Southeast Asian nations.
China and Vietnam signed an agreement to overcome the bitter maritime disputes and to find a longterm solution to the ongoing mistrust. Two yearly meetings and a hot line would be set up to deal with any emergencies. China views India with suspicion in Vietnamese waters. Chinese ships had recently driven away fishing vessels on behalf of both Vietnam and the Philippines. China also cautioned an Indian warship when it was about 45 nautical miles off the Vietnamese coast. Lately China had objected to OVL for exploring for oil and gas in Vietnam’s territorial waters. India insisted upon having freedom of navigation in international waters, including the South China Sea.
Vietnam is one of the fastest growing economies in Asia. Dr. Manmohan Singh was committed to investing more between the two countries. Several Indian companies are established in Vietnam and vice versa. The two countries have thus come to an agreement to safe guard the sea-lanes in the region. Singh also stated that the two maritime neighbours have to face the same security challenges. Both have to work closely to tackle the threats posted by these security challenges, such as terrorism, piracy and natural disaster. Singh agreed up on a two-way trade target of US$15 billion by 2015.
Beijing assertively claims a large portion of the South China Sea that links China with Southeast Asia. As tensions between Vietnam and China have increased, Vietnam has first turned to the U.S and now to India in order to counter balance growing Chinese power. That Beijing and Delhi are viewed as regional rivals will definitely prove productive for Vietnam.
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