Vietnam's regional security perceptions and priorities: Role of India

Mishra, Rahul (2021) Vietnam's regional security perceptions and priorities: Role of India. India Quarterly-A Journal of International Affairs, 77 (2, SI). pp. 200-218. ISSN 0974-9284, DOI

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Over the past several decades, India and Vietnam have consolidated their relationship through bilateral engagements, which have been complemented by the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN)-led multilateral mechanisms such as the East Asia Summit, ASEAN Regional Forum, ASEAN Defence Ministers' Meeting Plus, and the India-led Mekong-Ganga Cooperation (MGC). Building up on their traditionally strong relations, India and Vietnam have widened and deepened their defence and strategic links in recent years, which is manifested in joint trainings, military exercises and defence Lines of Credit offered by India. Since the 1990s, especially over the last decade, both India and Vietnam have made strategic readjustments to elevate their respective bilateral ties with like-minded countries bringing about new commonalities in their politico-strategic visions and policies. Like India, Vietnam too is trying to bring the multilateral and multi-dimensional Indo-Pacific agenda to the mainstream of its foreign policy calculations, facilitated by greater warmth in ties with Japan and the US. Vietnam's embracing of the Indo-Pacific is also in sync with ASEAN's Outlook on Indo-Pacific. It also aligns well with Vietnam's longstanding policy of `Three Nos', expanded to four in its 2019 Defence White Paper. While recent developments in the South China Sea have exacerbated Vietnam's growing anxieties vis-a-vis China, considering its trade interlinkages and dependence on China (and Russia), it is apparent that Vietnam is not yet ready to uproot its multi-layered linkages with China and get on board the `Quad plus' initiative that is perceived as an overtly anti-China coalition of democracies. India-Vietnam ties, therefore, must rely on the bilateral plank along with ASEAN-linked mechanisms, MGC, and the Indo-Pacific construct, while trying to develop concerted actions through deeper cooperation with Japan and the US. In short, any initiative to include Vietnam in a Quad Plus mechanism without sufficiently developing synergies with individual countries would not yield desired outcomes. This article argues that India-Vietnam ties would benefit most by attaching their bilateral pillar of relationship with the ASEAN- and Indo-Pacific-centred inclusive multilateral mechanisms while gradually engaging the US, Japan and other potential partners in suitable frameworks.

Item Type: Article
Uncontrolled Keywords: Act East policy; ASEAN; Indo-Pacific; Look East policy; Quadrilateral Security Dialogue (Quad); Quad Plus; South China Sea; Vietnam
Subjects: J Political Science > JX International law
J Political Science > JZ International relations
Divisions: Deputy Vice Chancellor (Academic & International) Office > Asia-Europe Institute
Depositing User: Ms Zaharah Ramly
Date Deposited: 05 Sep 2022 01:23
Last Modified: 05 Sep 2022 01:23

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