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Ho Chi Minh’s special bond with India
Linh Pham 19:41, 2024/01/04
Through carefully cultivating sentiments, Ho Chi Minh and his Indian friends laid the groundwork for the two nations’ future friendship to flourish.

Vietnamese late President Ho Chi Minh attached himself to India for decades and his special bond with Indian friends was reaffirmed in a documentary titled “President Ho Chi Minh and India.” 

 Indian and Vietnamese experts at the event held in Hanoi last week. Photo: HCMA

Experts from Vietnam and India highlighted the president’s affection for Indian friends and people at a seminar held in Hanoi last week by the Center for Indian Studies – the Ho Chi Minh National Political Academy (HCMA). 

The event is part of activities to celebrate the 50th anniversary of establishing Vietnam-India diplomatic relations (2022) and the 10th anniversary of the Center for Indian Studies (2024).

President Ho Chi Minh’s footprints in India were briefed at the event by Bui Chi Trung, Deputy Head of the School of Journalism and Communication under Vietnam National University – University of Social Sciences and Humanities (USSH) Hanoi. He is the director, screenwriter, and narrator of the documentary.

The 30-minute documentary was produced in 2021 by the Embassy of Vietnam in India and Media 21 Communications Company to tell historical stories and Ho Chi Minh’s affection for India.

The documentary in both Vietnamese and English joined the 11th Noida International Film Festival in 2022. It is regarded as an engaging teaching resource for tertiary education and a practical tool for the foreign service.

Attendees, including Do Thanh Hai, former Deputy Ambassador of Vietnam to India, and Monica Sharma, Director of the Vivekananda Cultural Center, the Indian Embassy in Vietnam, praised the film’s contribution to educating the younger generation about the longstanding friendship between the two nations.

 President Ho Chi Minh attaches a special bond with Indians. Source: The documentary

History tells a lot

The documentary makes extensive use of priceless archival photos of President Ho Chi Minh’s visits to India. Ho Chi Minh visited India three times in his life. The first time in 1911 when he was on a journey seeking the National Salvation paths on Admiral Latouche-Tréville ship from Vietnam to France; again in 1946 when he stopped on his way to France to attend peace talks; and once more in 1958, the most memorable when he paid an official visit in his capacity as President of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam.

In a 10-working day visit, he won the hearts of the Indians. He warmly shook hands with poor drivers, chatted with them, and called them friends and comrades. He also visited and hugged an Indian student who had been shot and wounded during a demonstration in support of the Vietnamese people’s struggle for peace in 1947. This was something unusual and precious in the Indian society at that time.

Ho Chi Minh had a special affection for Kolkata when he visited the city several times. Since then, the local government has regularly paid tribute to Ho Chi Minh memorials, organized seminars, opened book fairs, and written books about Ho Chi Minh, contributing to the friendship between the two countries over the past 50 years.

Commenting on Ho Chi Minh, Chintamani Mahapatra, Pro-Vice Chancellor of Jawaharlal Nehru University, India, said: “Ho Chi Minh is a peace lover, a leader who could do anything for the betterment of the people of his country.”

In the film, Jawaharlal Nehru, India’s first and longest-serving Prime Minister, said “We met this person Ho Chi Minh, who is a part of Asia’s history. In a world full of turmoil, strife, and separation, it’s such a joy to have him come and show us that kindness, friendship, and compassion could transcend all.” 

 President Ho Chi Minh and Mahatma Gandhi are the two figures who guided the nations' paths to independence. 

“President Ho Chi Minh’s ideology and morals are very close to a figure who is revered as a saint in India, namely Mahatma Gandhi,” shared Pham Sanh Chau, former Vietnamese Ambassador to India.

Both Mahatma Gandhi and Ho Chi Minh seemed to be the chosen ones by history to raise the flag of National Liberation in colonial countries, according to the documentary.

Meanwhile, the friendship between Ho Chi Minh and Jawaharlal Nehru was formed in a special way, through the stories by Jawaharlal Nehru’s dad – Motilal Nehru. 

Ambassador Pham Sanh Chau said that perhaps there are only a few countries in the world where the image of President Ho Chi Minh lives forever in the thoughts, feelings, and souls of the people and the government as it does in India. There was a time in history when the slogan “My name is Vietnam. Your name is Vietnam. Vietnam Vietnam” was always associated with the image of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh. In addition, many works of art, novels, poems, and most recently plays about Ho Chi Minh are well made in India.

Through visits and close contacts that went beyond ordinary diplomatic rituals, the great leader of the Vietnamese revolution and his Indian friends together woven a strong thread of sentiment, laying a solid foundation for the future friendship between the two countries to shine brightly.

In the period of Vietnam’s renewal, when the country carried out important economic reforms, India was one of the first investors in the country. Overcoming complicated developments in the region and numerous difficulties both at home and abroad, the Vietnam-India relations have been increasingly consolidated. India is one of Vietnam’s top trading partners with a major jump in bilateral trade and investment.

President of India Ram Nath Kovind affirmed that the founding fathers Mahatma Gandhi and Ho Chi Minh have led the nations on a common path. Meanwhile, Secretary General of the Communist Party of Vietnam (CPV) Nguyen Phu Trong highlighted the cohesion and sharing between the two countries grow not only in cultures, religions, and beliefs, but also their shared aspirations for peace, stability, cooperation, and development in the region.

In an official visit to Vietnam in 2016, Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi emphasized: “Embracing the past, forging the future, Ho Chi Minh left a great and precious spiritual legacy of the close friendship between the people of Vietnam and India,” and “Ho Chi Minh’s imprints in India and the affection of the Indian people for Ho Chi Minh are the starting chapters for the next leaps in the future.”

“It’s a relationship that cannot be torn apart” was how President Ho Chi Minh described the ties between the people of Vietnam and India. 

TAG: Vietnam news vietnam india relations president ho chi minh with india ho chi minh Mahatma Gandhi ho chi minh Jawaharlal Nehru
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