India-Vietnam Solidarity Committee organized an International Conference on “Ever Growing Relations: New Challenges and Relevance of Ho Chi Minh” in Kolkata recently. Ho Chi Minh (1819- 1969) was Prime Minister from 1945-1955, and President from 1945-1969 of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. He was outspoken voice for Vietnamese independence while living as a young man in France during World War I from 1939 -1945. He helped found the Indochinese Communist Party in 1930 and the League for the Independence of Vietnam, or Viet Minh, in 1941. The conference commenced with welcoming remarks by Mr. N. K. Agrawal. Mr. Geetesh Sharma, President of IVSC emphasized in his keynote speech that Ho Chi Minh’s ideas and austere life style had certain great qualities that differentiate him from the other statesmen. His life was full of struggles for the freedom and upliftment of the oppressed and downtrodden people. Mr. Pham Sanh Chau , Ambassador of S. R. Vietnam in India, briefed on activities of his office during the last one year and also reiterated that “Vietnam never forgets the past, but does never live in the past and look forward to the future”. Vice Chairman, Vietnam-India Friendship Association, Hanoi, Mr. Ha Minh Hue expressed pleasure for being invited to the seminar. He felicitated all the dignitaries of the conference. Prof. Le Van Toan, the Chairman of Center for India Studies, Ho Chi Minh National Academy of Politics, focused on certain big questions and its solutions, such as the time when the relationship between India and Vietnam originated from; about the cultural foundation of the two peoples of India and Vietnam; the achievements of this relationship from tradition to modernity; and the prospects for development in the current turbulent world. Goutam De, Regional Director of ICCR, Kolkata being one of the sponsors of the conference, mentioned about the co-operation policies between Vietnam and India, and informed that ICCR, Kolkata had provision of 170 scholarships for Vietnamese students and appealed everyone to propagate this message and exploit this opportunity. Prof. Suranjan Das, the Vice-Chancellor of Jadavpur University specifically mentioned about the special bond that both Vietnam and West Bengal shared with each other. While presenting his book on Vietnam to the Ambassador he agreed to focus on the scholastic and academic perspective to boost the bilateral relationship. A book entitled “Ho Chi Minh with India” which was jointly edited by Prof. Dr. Le Van Toan, Prof. G. Jayachandra Reddy and Dr. Nguyen Thi Phuonh Thao was released by the Vietnamese Ambassador to India. The second session of the seminar was on “East Sea and other Challenges” and was presided over by Mr. Geetesh Sharma and moderated by Mr. Pradeep Jewrajka. In this session, three presentations were made by Prof. Jayachandra Reddy, Dr. Tilottama and H. E. Mr. Pham Sanh Chau. All the presenters tried to address different issues of South China Sea and critical about the aggressive policy of China. A brief note about the session was presented by Mr. Geetesh Sharma.Post-lunch session of the seminar was dedicated to “Recent Advances in Indo-Vietnam Relations & Ho Chi Minh and Future Possibilities” which was presided by Prof. G. Jayachandra Reddy and was compered by Dr. Tilottama Mukherjee. Dr. Nguyen Tran Tien, Prof. Om Prakash Mishra, Prof. Pravamayee Samantaray and Dr. Shakti Roychaudhury addressed many latest issues of India-Vietnam relations. At the end of the session a brief note was presented by the president of the session Prof. Jayachandra Reddy. Fourth session dealt with “Relevance of Ho Chi Minh and Role of Calcutta in Indo-Vietnam Relations” which was presided by Mr. Prem Kapoor, and compered by Prof. Pravamayee Samantaray. All the four speakers of this session, Prof. Tridib Chakraborty, Mr. Ha Minh Hue, Mr. Amitava Chakraborty and Mr. Geetesh Sharma briefed and recollected Ho Chi Minh’s philosophy with special reference to India. It was followed by an open interactive session which was compeered by Ms. Usha Gupta and chaired by Prof. Dr. Shakti Roychowdhury. In this session Dr. Gulzeeda Khan, Mr. Kamal Agrawal, Ms. Shakun Trivedi, Ms. Anugya Shah, Mr. Jyotirmay Ghosh, Dr. Smruti Smita Mahapatra shared their views and responded to all the questions by participants. There was a consensus of all the participants of the conference on some key issues that firstly, Kolkata was very much neglected; secondly, Kolkata people are needed a Vietnamese consulate and finally, efforts should be made to carry forward the objectives of the India-Vietnam Solidarity Committee.
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