Wednesday, October 28, 2020, 12:45 (GMT+7)

Monday, June 08, 2020, 06:52 (GMT+7)
Leveraging the VPA’s political – spiritual element in the fight against Covid-19

Covid-19 is an extremely dangerous pandemic, which spreads quickly and seriously affects economy, politics, society, foreign relations, security, and national defence of countries. Given their strategic vision and foresight, our Party and State have soon recognised the peril of this disease. The standpoint of “fighting the epidemic is like fighting the enemy” is thoroughly perceived from the Central Military Commission (CMC), Ministry of National Defence (MND) to every cadre and soldier. Regarding this as a political task and combat mission of Viet Nam People’s Army (VPA) in peacetime, the CMC and MND have timely given instructions in each phase of the fight against the epidemic, together with people nationwide, making vital contribution to fundamentally pushing back the Covid-19. The international community appreciates this effort and considers Viet Nam a bright example in pandemic prevention and response. Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc has affirmed that “the VPA always forms the backbone of the nation. In particular, when the country faces the risk of foreign aggression, natural disasters, and epidemics, the VPA’s leading role is increasingly displayed and promoted.” Right from the onset of this difficult struggle, the VPA has closely collaborated with committees, ministries, sectors, and localities to proactively develop and adjust plans in response to the epidemic on different scales; early conducted a large-scale exercise; and predicted the worst-case scenarios to practise handling the situations. It has also enhanced the opening of training courses, scientific research, disposition of forces and timely mobilised a large amount of medical equipment and materials to realise the “four – on - premises motto” and satisfy demand of missions. Wherever the soldiers are present, in the plains or in the forests, people feel more confident, thus further beautifying the image of “Uncle Ho’s Soldiers” in the new era. In the face of disease outbreak around the world, we have brought into play the spirit of pure, impartial internationalism. We actively promoted cooperation on experience sharing, provided medical supplies, and sent health experts to aid some militaries in epidemic prevention and response, such as Laos, Cambodia, Russia, Cuba, China, and so on. Although the assistance was not worth much, this good deed was appreciated and praised by international partners, contributing to improving status and prestige of the VPA and our country in the international arena. Despite the ongoing epidemic, the whole military has taken initiative in adjusting plans and well carrying out military, defence activities; strictly maintained combat readiness to firmly protect national borders and sovereignty over waters and islands; actively helped localities to overcome consequences of natural disasters, drought, saltwater intrusion; and worked with other forces to uphold political security, social order and safety nationwide.

Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc inspects the mobile testing truck of the Military Preventive Medicine Institute (Photo: VNA)

It can be affirmed that the political-spiritual strength of the VPA’s cadres and soldiers originate from the Party’s revolutionary nature and tradition as well as national history and culture inherited and brought into play in the new conditions. This ensures that our military is always the political force and fighting force absolutely faithful to the Party, State and people, truly serving as the reliable backbone of the whole people in the fight against the epidemic, and possessing aspiration and resolve as has been affirmed by General Secretary and President Nguyen Phu Trong “the whole Vietnamese people make joint effort to overcome every difficulty and challenge to win the Covid-19 war.”

In the coming time, the Covid-19 pandemic is likely to continue to witness complex developments and return, which causes serious consequences, severely challenges the role of governments and international institutions in dealing with nontraditional security issues, changes the international order, incites extreme nationalism, and escalates geostrategic competition between major powers, especially in the East Sea, exerting a strong influence on regional security environment. Our country is transforming into a “new normal” with both opportunities and challenges caused by the epidemic. Degradation in political ideology, morality, and lifestyle, “self-evolution,” “self-transformation,” corruption, wastefulness, and hostile forces’ drastic sabotage set new high requirements for national construction and defence.

Apart from epidemic prevention and response, the VPA continues to step up implementation of resolutions, strategies and plans on military and national defence; adjust force organisation; reform and improve operational effectiveness of military businesses; prepare and hold Party congresses at all levels in the VPA prior to the 13th Party National Congress, etc., necessitating high consensus on awareness and action. Therefore, to tap into the political-spiritual potential of the VPA to combat Covid-19 pandemic and successfully accomplish every assigned task requires the VPA to realise the following measures:

First, promoting political, ideological education to raise awareness and responsibility of cadres and soldiers for Covid-19 prevention and response in the new situation. In fact, Party committees and commanders of units have attached importance to educating and encouraging soldiers to strictly comply with leadership and instruction of the Party, Government, CMC, MND, and General Political Department (GPD) in the spirit of “fighting the epidemic is like fighting the enemy.” This is the prerequisite and valuable experience for bringing into full play the political-spiritual strength in undertaking missions of units.

Thus, besides adjusting political education programmes for learners, it is necessary to continue to strictly grasp instructions of upper echelons on epidemic prevention and response, especially appeals of the General Secretary and President, Conclusion No. 172-TB/TW, dated 21 March 2020, of the Politburo, Official Dispatch No. 79-CV/TW, dated 29 January 2020, of the Secretariat Committee, Directive No. 19/CT-TTg, dated 25 April 2020, of the Prime Minister, Directive No. 260-CT/QUTW, dated 19 March 2020, of the CMC’s Standing Committee, Directive No. 104/CT-BQP, dated 12 May 2020, of the MND on further implementation of measures to combat Covid-19 epidemic in the new situation.

There needs to continue to deeply and unanimously perceive the standpoints of “fighting the epidemic is like fighting the enemy” and “fighting the epidemic is a combat mission in peacetime,” ensuring the VPA’s leading role in epidemic prevention and response in any situations. Special importance must be attached to summarising practice and researching theory on military response to Covid-19 pandemic and nontraditional security challenges, contributing to improving and developing guidelines on military affairs, military building and national defence in the new situation.

Second, speeding up information dissemination and propaganda to guide public opinion among cadres, soldiers, and people in the face of complex development of the epidemic. It is important to tapping into all channels of communication to guide public opinion in a timely, transparent, and correct manner. Propaganda must be enhanced through mass media. Propaganda on epidemic prevention and response should be aligned with propaganda on military and national defence missions. Military newspapers proactively publish special news and articles, thus affirming the preeminence of our regime, the roles, functions, nature, and tradition of the VPA as well as the image of “Uncle Ho’s Soldiers” on the front of pandemic response. There needs to develop plans to spread propaganda should epidemic emergency occur. It is also important to promote emulation, commendation and reward in epidemic prevention and response in connection with major campaigns, the Determination-to-Win Emulation Movement, and peak emulation waves on the occasion of the anniversary of important events; focus on grassroots level and forces directly undertaking missions; and timely detect, honour and multiply good models, creative working methods, and prominent organisations and individuals in the fight against the pandemic.

Third, leveraging responsibility of Party committees, Party organisations and the corps of cadres and Party members in epidemic prevention and response and execution of units’ political missions, firmly upholding and strengthening the Party’s absolute, direct leadership in every aspect over the VPA. The Party’s leadership is key to enhancing the VPA’s political-spiritual strength. Therefore, leadership competencies and combat power of Party committees and organisations need to be improved with a focus on effectively implementing special resolutions on epidemic prevention and response; timely perfecting leading measures to ensure good leadership over epidemic prevention and response while adopting synchronous measures to successfully accomplish resolutions of the CMC and Party committees at all levels on leading the execution of military and national defence missions and the building of pure, strong Party committees in association with building comprehensively robust units.

Moreover, it is necessary to further realise Resolution of the 4th Plenum of the Party Central Committee (12th Tenure), Directive No. 05-CT/TW of the Politburo (12th Tenure), Directive No. 87-CT/QUTW of the CMC’s Standing Committee on “Stepping up studying and following Ho Chi Minh’s thought, morality and style,” and Directive No. 855-CT/QUTW, dated 12 August 2019, of the CMC’s Standing Committee on enhancing the implementation of the campaign: “Promoting traditiondevoting talent, deserving to be Uncle Ho’s Soldiers” in the new era. Units are requested to grasp and successfully observe the Party’s regulations on leading by example, particularly Regulation No. 646-QD/QUTW, dated 6 January 2012, of the CMC’s Standing Committee on the “Responsibility to lead by example of cadres and Party members, especially cadres in charge of leadership, command and management at all levels in the VPA” and Resolution No. 109-NQ/QUTW, dated 11 February 2019, of the CMC on “Making the corps of military cadres, particularly those at operational and strategic levels, capable of satisfying demand of missions in the new situation.” There needs to successfully bring into play the role and responsibility of cadres and Party members, especially the secretaries, leading cadres and political cadres, to enhance political-spiritual strength of cadres and soldiers, creating the basis for tapping into the VPA’s overall power to effectively deal with the epidemic at various scales and complete every assigned task.

Fourth, tapping into the overall power of organisations and forces; strengthening policy work and mass mobilisation; establishing close civil-military relations; coordinating activities of functional agencies, Party committees and local authorities to successfully prevent and combat the epidemic in connection with socio-economic development and consolidation of national defence and security in areas. Units concentrate on leveraging the role of mass organisations and military personnel council; conducting practical activities aimed at enhancing the quality of epidemic prevention and response as well as other tasks. They must strictly and timely implement policies on the military and military family, especially some special policies for epidemic prevention and response defined at Degree No. 37/ND-CP, dated 29 March 2020, of the Government. It is important to closely manage internal political situation, propagandise and seriously observe security and safety regulations in units and isolation areas.

Military units propagandise and mobilise people to actively take part in epidemic prevention and response and firm maintenance of political security, social order, and safety, especially in strategic areas, border areas, seas and islands, areas inhabited by minority ethnic people and religious followers. They are also requested to collaborate with relevant agencies to advise Party committees and local authorities to well coordinate, receive, transport, monitor, isolate people; help people in production recovery and acceleration, stabilisation of life, hunger eradication and poverty alleviation, contributing to building robust political foundations and strong defence zones, strengthening national defence potential and “people’s heart-and-mind posture” in the cause of national construction and defence.

Fifth, actively struggling to defeat plots and tricks of hostile forces, reactionaries, and political opportunists, who seek to exploit and distort the epidemic prevention and response in order to do damage to the Party, State and VPA. Taking advantage of the epidemic situation, pressing social problems, and Party congresses at various levels, they concentrate on distorting the guidelines and policies with a view to undermining prestige of leaders of the Party, State and military, inventing false information about candidates for the upcoming National Party Congress, and denying outcomes of epidemic prevention and response as well as the role and functions of the VPA. Thus, the process of establishing and tapping into political-spiritual might of the VPA’s cadres and soldiers is also the process of struggling to defeat the hostile forces’ strategies of “peaceful evolution” and “depoliticising” the VPA. Accordingly, it is necessary to speed up grasping and realising Resolution No. 35-NQ/TW, dated 22 October 2018, of the Politburo on “Strengthening protection of the Party’s ideological foundation, struggling to counter incorrect, hostile standpoints in the new situation.” Party committees, commanders, and political organisation at all echelons must focus on leading, instructing and bring into play the role of functional organisations and pivotal forces in adopting measures to resolutely expose and defeat sabotage schemes of hostile forces, reactionaries and political opportunists, especially in cyberspace.

The fight against Covid-19 pandemic will continue to witness complex developments and have severe consequences for the world, including Viet Nam. Therefore, the leverage of political-spiritual element, which is key to enhancing the VPA’s integrated quality and combat power and enabling it to play the core role in winning the Covid-19 war and firmly safeguarding the socialist Homeland, is an urgent matter. Party committees, political commissars, commanders, and political organisations at all levels have to concentrate on leading, instructing and implementing the aforementioned solutions in a synchronous manner; ceaselessly promote the political-spiritual strength of the whole military; and successfully accomplish assigned tasks to deserve President Ho Chi Minh’s praise: “Our military is faithful to the Party, pious to the people, ready to fight and sacrifice for independence and freedom of the Homeland and for socialism; ready to accomplish any missions, overcome any difficulties, and triumph over any enemies.”

Senior Lieutenant General Nguyen Trong Nghia, Member of the Party Central Committee and the Central Military Commission, Deputy Chairman of the General Political Department, Viet Nam People’s Army

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To thoroughly carry out the preparatory work for, and successfully conduct the 13th Party Congress, leading the country to a new phase of development
The entire Party, people and armed forces shall unify in hearts and minds, join forces to carry out thoroughly the preparatory work for, and successfully conduct the 13th National Congress of the Party, leading the country to a new phase of development with the goal of “prosperous people, powerful, democratic, just and civilised country”, successfully fulfilling the heartfelt wish of great President Ho Chi Minh and the desire of the entire nation.