Vietnam-India cooperation blossoming in technology and engineering spheres

January 19, 2023 | 11:00
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Vietnam and India last year coordinated in many activities to explore potential cooperation, including in IT and engineering, which helped mark 50 years of diplomatic relations between the two nations.

In an article in late December focused on Vietnam’s strong economic growth in 2022, S D Pradhan, who once served as chairman of India’s Joint Intelligence Committee, pointed out many bright prospects for cooperation in the economic sphere between the two countries. He mentioned the potential of cooperation in IT and engineering.

“India can help provide skill training to Vietnamese on a larger scale. In the digital sector, India’s assistance can be of great value to Vietnam for enhancing the ease of doing business,” Pradhan wrote.

Vietnam-India cooperation blossoming in technology and engineering spheres
Vietnam-India cooperation blossoming in technology and engineering spheres, illustration photo/ Le Toan

Vietnam has set priorities at the 13th National Party Congress that include national digital transformation, developing a digital-based economy, greater stress on science and technology, and creating a conducive environment for business development and manufacturing.

Vietnam is accelerating its digital transformation trajectory towards achieving targets and tasks set in the national digital transformation programme until 2025, approved by the prime minister.

Accordingly, Vietnam aims for the digital economy to account for 20 per cent of its GDP by 2025 and about 30 per cent by 2030. The national digital transformation programme has a dual purpose: developing digital government, digital economy, and digital society; and establishing Vietnamese digital businesses with global capacity.

According to the preliminary estimates by the Ministry of Information and Communications, the share of the digital economy in GDP is expected to have hit 10.4 per cent in 2022, a strong leap compared to 9.6 per cent in 2021, but still significantly lower than the target of about 20 per cent.

Similar to Vietnam’s national digital transformation scheme, the Indian government launched Digital India with the vision of transforming the nation into a digitally empowered society and a knowledge-based economy by ensuring digital access, inclusion and empowerment, and bridging the digital divide.

The initiative is centred on three key areas – digital infrastructure as a core utility to every citizen, governance and services on demand, and the digital empowerment of citizens. India is currently a highly competitive centre globally in digital competence of IT services and training.

Vietnam and India have identified digital technology as one of their development strategies. Many Indian IT companies are present in Vietnam and provide training, solutions, and other services, especially in the banking industry, telecoms, and network security.

Some Indian startups are also present in Vietnam, especially in the fintech and travel technology sectors. Conversely, some Vietnam enterprises are eyeing potential cooperation with Indian partners in digital tech.

In an international seminar on Vietnam-India economic exchange on December 28, experts and leaders of enterprises from the two countries openly discussed technology and engineering as potential areas of cooperation.

Mini Kuman, the first secretary of the Indian Embassy in Vietnam, highlighted potential areas of cooperation between the two countries, including agro-commodities, engineering goods, the health sector, and IT. She said engineering goods were a particular strength for both sides.

“Vietnam is excellent in the electronic production of computers, phones, and telecommunications, thanks to the foreign direct investment flow from Samsung, LG, Foxconn, and so on. Meanwhile, India is good in auto parts components, tools machinery for everything agricultural tools, the tools used in scientific laboratories, research and development (R&D), and packaging,” she said.

“We have machines and tools which are good and of affordable price. Some studies have indicated that Vietnamese enterprises, mostly small- and medium-sized ones, are importing these types of machinery and tools from Europe. So, why don’t you look to India, which has this kind of equipment at a reasonable price?”

New opportunities

Hoang Quoc Viet, general director of Vietsoftpro Company, added that he sees great potential in cooperation between Vietnam and India in human resources and digital transformation.

He emphasised that Vietnam was a dynamic country with the fastest IT development and digital transformation worldwide. Meanwhile, India is known as a country with an excellent IT training background, with many strong businesses and a giant market.

Viet said that after many years of studying and working in India, he has a special affection for the country. In 2015, the company started cooperating with his former Indian classmates. In 2019, when demand increased, it started recruiting IT engineers to collaborate on projects and move on to becoming a long-term partner in Vietnam. Most recently, the company started to explore investment promotion in a new branch in India.

However, Viet said Vietsoftpro was facing many problems.

“The first issue is human resources. If an Indian expert goes to Vietnam or a Vietnamese expert comes to India to work for a short time, there is no problem. However, recruiting dozens or hundreds of Indian employees to Vietnam to work is difficult due to the issue of long-term visas for foreign workers,” he said.

Vietnam requires Indian IT engineers to have at least three years of working experience in Indian enterprises before coming to Vietnam to work long-term. But the company’s needs include recruiting Indian students who have just graduated; their work experience is low, but their knowledge and skills are excellent. But this group of Indian workers is not eligible to work in Vietnam.

“Secondly, we want to invest in a branch in India. India and Vietnam have longstanding cultural interference and tourism cooperation. Vietsoftpro is also promoting digital transformation technology solutions in cultural heritage and tourism. When opening a branch in India, Vietsofpro will recruit staff in India. However, the company faced problems in procedures and did not receive the necessary information support,” Viet said.

Last December, Viettel High-Tech Industry Corporation and United Telecoms Group of India signed a strategic agreement on comprehensive R&D and 5G telecom infrastructure development, defence products, and solutions for both Indian and overseas markets.

“A 5G pilot network is Viettel High Tech’s starting step to participate in the Indian market,” said Nguyen Vu Ha, CEO of Viettel High Tech. “With a population of 1.4 billion people, India is a market with great attraction for leading technology corporations. Our goal is to promote cooperation in R&D and production of equipment of 4G and 5G networks to meet Indian standards.”

Viettel High-Tech’s first equipment export contract is an important milestone, marking Viettel’s 5G solution as ready for large-scale commercial deployment not only in this country but also in international markets with high technology levels and strict requirements, such as India.

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Around 17 Indian companies have joined the business matching event with 70 Vietnamese companies to find partnership opportunities in the engineering sector.

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Prominent Indian investors are eager to pump money into Vietnam in sectors such as IT, energy, healthcare, and car components, as shown in a recent round of senior business meetings.

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An average monthly rise of 51 percent was seen in the number of Indian tourists to Vietnam in the first 10 months of this year, according to the Vietnam National Administration of Tourism (VNAT).

Vietnam-India economic exchange seminar held Vietnam-India economic exchange seminar held

On December 28, the Centre for Indian Studies, under Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, in collaboration with the Vietnam-India Friendship Association in Hanoi and the Embassy of India in Hanoi co-organised the international seminar “Vietnam-India economic exchange: Opportunities and challenges.”

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By Ha Thanh

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