chapter  6
12 Pages

Indochina: India’s political partnership with Vietnam

Southeast Asia is the main focus of India’s strategic ambitions in the Asia Pacific. For many centuries Indian civilisation was a leading cultural and religious influence in Southeast Asia as the names of Indochina and Indonesia attest. In modern times, India has claimed a special role in Indochina. For more than 40 years, India has stood with Vietnam, its ‘most trusted friend and ally’,1 in resisting external domination. Over the last decade, India has been seeking – with only limited success – to use Vietnam as a key partner in its security ambitions in the Asia Pacific. But while Vietnam wants to develop India as political and economic balance to China, it does not yet see India as a credible security partner.2