The University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH) under the Vietnam National University-Ho Chi Minh City on Wednesday opened an Indian Information Office, the first of its kind at any university in the southern city.
The Consulate General of India in HCMC will provide all resources for the office for free. It is situated at the Thu Duc District campus of USSH and is managed by the Faculty of Oriental Studies.
“Learning about India becomes necessary for both humanitarian and practical aspects of today’s society,” said Ngo Thi Phuong Lan, vice president of USSH.
“India is known first as an ancient civilization, a vast country rich with cultural diversity and a treasure trove of human knowledge. Today, India is not only preserving its cultural identity, but growing rapidly in all aspects, becoming one of the world’s key economic and social-political centers,” she said.
“India has also become a role model for developing countries,” Lan added.
In Vietnam, connections with India began a long time ago and developed throughout the length of history, the vice president said.
“Beginning in wartime in the past century, Vietnam-India bilateral relationships have developed strongly in all aspects, from politics and economics to intellectual, cultural and societal ties. In this context, the understanding of each other is essential for greater cooperation,” Lan remarked.
The launch of the Indian Information Office is in answer to the urgent need for Indian studies in HCMC and in Vietnam, she asserted, adding that the office will also help tighten the Vietnam-India friendship in addition to training experts in Indian studies.
Manoj Kumar, acting Indian Consul General in HCMC, said he hopes the office will be a source of information about various facets of India and facilitate students in learning about the South Asian country.
“I take this opportunity to thank USSH for its continued support to Indian studies. The Consulate General of India in HCMC is pleased to extend all moral and other possible support to strengthen the bilateral relationship,” Kumar added.
Trade ties between Vietnam and India are developing quickly, approaching the target of US$7 billion in two-way trade by 2015, as bilateral trade increased threefold to $5.24 billion in 2013 from just $1.54 billion in 2007.
Of the total, Vietnamese exports generated $2.35 billion, an increase of 13 times, and its imports were $2.88 billion, a twofold rise.
Vietnam, the fourth largest trade partner of India in the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN), shipped $2.3 billion worth of goods to India last year.
India has recognized Vietnam’s full market economy status, and both countries have signed numerous agreements, including the ASEAN-India Trade in Goods Agreement (AITIG), to help business communities access their markets.
Vietnam and India established a strategic partnership in July 2013 and increasing bilateral trade is one of the five pillars underpinning their rapport.