ECONOMYNEXT – Vietnam had offered to share organic fertilizer technology with Sri Lanka while the Indian Ocean island had proposed strengthening Buddhist religious ties and invited the country to invest in a China-backed dollarized investment zone.
Viet Nam Ambassador to Colombo Ho Thi Thanh Truc had offered offered to share her country’s experience in introducing organic fertilizer during a meeting with State Minister of Regional Cooperation Tharaka Balasuriya, a Foreign Ministry statement said.
State Minister Balasuriya explored the possibility of furthering ties in the IT sector of Sri Lanka and Viet Nam and discussed a road show in Colombo Port City where Viet Nam investors would get the opportunity to invest in areas such as IT and Software.
Minister Balasuriya had also expressed interest in promoting Sri Lanka as a tourist destination using social media. Ambassador Thanh Truc had in turn proposed direct air ties.
Sri Lanka had also proposed expanding religious ties to the envoy of the secular Socialist Republic.
“Considering the close religious ties between the two countries, State Minister Balasuriya underscored the importance of rejuvenating cooperation between temple-to-temple connections and expressed the willingness to connect with the Viet Nam Buddhist temples to share the religious and cultural interests between the two countries,” the statement said.
According to the 2019 census Vietnam had a population of 96.208 million of which 83.046 million professed to have no religion.
About 5.866 million professed to be Catholics, 960,000 Protestants, 4.606 million Buddhists, another 983,000 belong to the native Hoa Hao Buddhist sect, 70,000 Muslim and about 64,000 Hindus.
According to Article 24 of Vietnam’s constitution, everyone shall enjoy freedom of belief and of religion, the can “follow any religion or follow none” and “all religions are equal before the law”.
According to Article 24.3, no one had “the right to infringe on the freedom of belief and religion or to take advantage of belief and religion to violate the law.”
Vietnam has had Indianized Hindu-Buddhist cultures including Champa with strongly searfaring tendencies, which in later centuries may have played a role in expanding Islam in South East Asia. (Colombo/July17/2021)