Interpretation of remarks by the Vietnamese Ambassador to India on defense and nuclear cooperation

on Andrey Korybko.

Vietnam already has defense and nuclear technology agreements with Russia, which were even mentioned in their reaffirmed strategic partnership pact that was negotiated in early December during President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Moscow, which raised eyebrows when Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau said on Friday that “only India can help Vietnam in sensitive areas such as defense and nuclear technology for peaceful use.”

Vietnam’s Ambassador to India, Pham San Chau, said in an interactive session on Friday that “only India can help Vietnam in sensitive areas such as defense and nuclear technology for peaceful use.” This remark came as a surprise, since Vietnam already has defense and nuclear technology agreements with Russia, which were even mentioned in their reaffirmed strategic partnership pact, which was agreed in early December during President Nguyen Xuan Phuc’s visit to Moscow. Therefore, the purpose of this article is to clarify what he probably meant.

The unprecedented sanctions imposed by the West, led by the United States, against Russia in response to its ongoing special military operation in Ukraine carry the threat of so-called “secondary sanctions”. In the Vietnamese context, it is the sword of Damocles hanging over its strategic partnership with Russia, especially in the field of defense. However, there is a clever workaround that can be practiced that has already proven effective, namely the purchase of weapons produced jointly by Russia and India to avoid the threat of “secondary sanctions”.

The method is working, as evidenced by India’s Ambassador to the Philippines Shambhu Kumaran, who confirmed last month that his country’s deal with the Philippines on BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles produced jointly with Russia would not be affected by any such sanctions as it is bilateral. and are not directly linked to Russia. Moscow had to approve the sale, but more than that, it is not part of this agreement. The inability of the United States to impose retaliatory sanctions suggests that this method of purchasing Russian-Indian co-produced weapons from third countries could work as an effective workaround for an uncertain future.

The same could be true for cooperation with Russia in the field of nuclear energy, which is not yet authorized, but one should not assume that this will never happen. Russia and India are already cooperating jointly to develop a nuclear power plant at Rooppur, their Bangladeshi partner, so there is no reason why they cannot extend this working agreement to other third countries such as Vietnam. In other words, the way to get away from illegal sanctions threats from the West, led by the United States, is for Russia to fully expand the scope of its joint projects with India to third countries.

Vietnam is the ideal place for this because it pursues a policy of principled neutrality towards the Ukrainian conflict, like India, without publicly denouncing Russia or joining the illegal Western-led sanctions against it. That is why Ambassador Chau also said on Friday that “Vietnam and India have chosen the middle path, the path of peace, stability and dialogue, the path of the Buddha.” In fact, India’s bold defiance of America’s growing multilateral pressure on it to condemn and then sanction Russia has made this great power the leader of the global South.

India seeks to unite with Russia the new Non-Aligned Movement (Neo-NAM) to create a third pole of influence in the current bipolar transitional phase of the global systemic transition to multipolarity. Vietnam fits perfectly into this emerging network with its policy of principled neutrality and excellent relations with two Russian-Indian neo-NAM leaders. With that in mind, Ambassador Chau’s remark makes a lot of sense, as it seems to hint at trilateral cooperation along this model to avoid illegal threats of “secondary sanctions” from the United States in a new cold war.

If this interpretation of this diplomat’s statement is correct, then it would mean that Vietnam is positioning itself as the main multipolar power in ASEAN, as India has already done in South Asia and in the countries of the South as a whole. Going forward, observers should pay very close attention to Vietnam’s bilateral relations with India and Russia, as well as any potential trilateral projects it may engage in with them. ASEAN is already one of the cores of the emerging multipolar world order, so Vietnam’s desire to become its main multipolar power speaks of its growing global importance.

Andrey Korybko

source: One world

Avic translation for the international network