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Tuesday, May 07, 2019, 08:01 (GMT+7)
Promoting the spirit of independence, self-reliance and determination to fight and win in the Dien Bien Phu Campaign for the sake of national construction and defense

The Dien Bien Phu victory “resonating across the five continents and shaking the globe” resulted from the sound and clear-sighted leadership of the Party and President Ho Chi Minh and embodied the spirit of determination to fight and win by the entire people and military in our struggles for peace, national independence and reunification. 65 years have elapsed, yet the significance of and historic lessons from the Dien Bien Phu victory  continue to reverberate through Vietnam, giving added impetus to the entire Party, people and military’s path to reform, international integration, development and the construction and defense of the socialist Vietnamese Fatherland.

The “Determination to Fight, Determination to Win” Flag of the Vietnam People’s Army flew on the top the command bunker of De Castries (file photo)

Following the success of the August Revolution in 1945, President Ho Chi Minh delivered the Proclamation of Independence announcing the birth of the Democratic Republic of Vietnam. During her first days of independence, Vietnam was confronted with countless difficulties and challenges against the backdrop of “domestic and foreign enemies”. As the French colonialists conspired to reinvade her, Vietnam had to wage resistance war and national construction at the same time, namely eliminating starvation, illiteracy and foreign aggression. In response to President Ho Chi Minh’s Appeal for national resistance in December, 1946, the Vietnamese people and military led by the Party, upholding the spirit of independence, freedom, determination to fight and win, and willingness “to sacrifice everything rather than to lose the country or to be enslaved”, rose up en masse in their all-out, protracted national resistance war which was mainly dependent on their own strength while enlisting international support, thereby step by step defeating military strategies by colonialists and scoring significant victories, particularly in the 1947 Viet Bac Campaign and the 1950  Autumn Winter Border Campaign.

On the basis of the in-depth analyses and assessments of domestic and international situations, the Party Central Committee set out the 1953-1954 Winter-Spring Strategic Plan under the motto of “activeness, proactiveness, mobility and flexibility” and “fighting and winning” to smash the Navarre Plan. Our military and people mounted continued attacks, dealing devastating blows to the enemy and pushing them into passivity on all fronts. As the Navarre Plan ran the risk of failure, French colonialists deployed paratroopers to Dien Bien Phu and increased military presence to transform Dien Bien Phu into a fortified entrenched camp which was the most powerful in Indochina - “an indestructible fortress” as a springboard to seize the control of Northwest Vietnam and Upper Laos as well as to “crush” the Viet Minh.

Being fully aware of the enemy’s plots and artifices, in early December, 1953, the Politburo decided to launch the Dien Bien Phu Campaign, “to concentrate the majority of our battle-hardened main forces on the Dien Bien Phu Front and to mount attacks against the enemy’s elite forces in their most powerful fortified camp in Indochina”. Having considered the Dien Bien Phu Campaign important militarily, politically and diplomatically, President Ho Chi Minh ordered that attack be carried out only when victory is certain. In compliance with his order, our military and people quickly made extensive preparations and entered the strategic battle of Dien Bien Phu driven by a burning aspiration for national independence and a strong will to fight and win.

Based on happenings on the ground and President Ho Chi Minh’s order, the Party Committee and Command of the Dien Bien Phu Campaign, headed by General Vo Nguyen Giap, switched the strategy from  “swift attack, swift victory” to “steady attack, steady advance” immediately before the onset of the Campaign. This clear-sighted decision was consonant with happenings on the ground and served as one of the decisive factors in the ultimate victory. After “56 days and nights of digging mountains, sleeping in shelters, eating rice balls in incessant rain nights, blood blended with mud”, our military and people captured the Dien Bien Phu victory “resonating across the five continents and shaking the globe” as the Flag with words “Determination to fight, Determination to win” handed over by President Ho Chi Minh to the Vietnam People’s Army flew on the top of the command bunker of the French General De Castries. The Dien Bien Phu Campaign was one of the pinnacles of the history of our struggles against foreign aggression which deserves to go down in the national history as the battles of Bach Dang, Chi Lang and Dong Da in the Ho Chi Minh era. It was the victory for the aspiration for peace, independence and freedom, the Vietnamese spirit of self-reliance and self-resilience, worldwide national liberation movements as well as the conscience of the times. The Dien Bien Phu victory dealt a decisive blow to warlike imperialists and colonialists’ conspiracy to invasion, led the French government to sign the 1954 Geneva Accords to end war in Indochina, opened up a new chapter in the Vietnamese revolution and signaled the beginning of the end of colonialism the world over.

The victory of the anti-French resistance war with the Dien Bien Phu Campaign as a pinnacle is that of patriotism, resilience and indomitableness forged throughout the Vietnamese people’s millennia-old history, of our Party’s sound strategy for the people’s war, of determination to fight and win, of the spirit of “daring to fight, resolving to fight, knowing how to fight and win”, of the strength of the great national unity, of the spirit of independence, self-reliance and self-resilience, of   the combination between the national strength and the strength of the times, of the fighting solidarity between the peoples of Vietnam, Laos and Cambodia, as well as of international support.

The Dien Bien Phu victory, which is historically significant, bears out the fact that a small and underdeveloped nation manage to defeat any foreign aggressors for certain if it is led by a true Marxist party that adopts politically and militarily sound policies and succeeds in promoting the national strength and enlisting the support of the peoples around the world. “The Dien Bien Phu victory is a golden milestone. It is the great victory for our people as well as the oppressed peoples around the world. The Dien Bien Phu victory proves the Marxist-Leninist idea that wars of aggression by imperialists are bound to fail and national liberation revolutions are certain to succeed”, asserted President Ho Chi Minh. The Dien Bien Phu victory is a golden milestone and a source of national pride. Our military and people continued to further promote the spirit of this great victory in the anti-American resistance war for national salvation, thereby achieving heroic feats of arms in order to completely liberate the South and reunify the whole country, gaining important achievements in the cause of reform and international integration as well as in the construction and defense of the socialist Vietnamese Fatherland.

Nowadays, while peace, cooperation and development remain the prevailing trend, the world still face complicated and unpredictable developments, including growing strategic competition among major powers, populism, protectionism, non-traditional security challenges, climate change, natural disasters, epidemics. Scientific and technological advances and the fourth industrial revolution open up both new opportunities and challenges. Her 30-year plus Doi Moi initiated and led by the Party has enabled Vietnam to increase the country’s status and prestige in the international arena. However, Vietnam faces limitations on its economic responsiveness and competitiveness while it is still at risk of getting caught in the middle-income trap and backwardness. Despite the country’s significant achievements in socio-cultural development, environment protection, climate change responses, diplomacy and enhanced national defense and security, its challenging tasks lie ahead. Amidst extensive and intensive international integration, apart from advantages, the cause of our national construction and defense is still confronted with numerous disadvantages in socio-economic, cultural, diplomatic, national defense and security terms.

Perpetuating and upholding glorious traditions of our national construction and defense, the spirit of “determination to fight and win” and aspirations for peace embodied in previous resistance wars with the Dien Bien Phu Campaign as a pinnacle, the entire Party, military and people continue to unite in defying all the odds, striving to achieve goals of socio-economic development, and increasing defense and security capabilities in line with the Party and National Assembly’s resolutions, thereby laying a firm foundation for the country’s rapid and sustainable development in the coming years with importance being attached to the following.

First, sticking to the goal of national independence and socialism and effectively implementing the Party’s line. This is an essential prerequisite for national construction and defense in the new situation enshrined in the Party’s resolutions and the State’s policies and laws. Against the backdrop of globalization, extensive and intensive international integration, complicated, unpredictable and potentially destabilizing developments in international and regional situations, intertwined opportunities and challenges together with hostile forces’ sabotage activities against our revolution by means of “peaceful evolution”, it is crucially important to stick to the Marxist-Leninist doctrine and Ho Chi Minh Thought while placing absolute trust in the Party’s leadership.

It is necessary to thoroughly grasp and effectively implement the Party’s line on comprehensive and synchronous reforms, to take economic development as a central task, Party building as a key task, cultural development as a spiritual foundation of society, enhanced defense and security capabilities as a regular task, as well as to closely combine socio-economic development with enhanced defense and security capabilities. It is essential to adhere to the principle of staying "firm in objectives, flexible in strategies and tactics”, to pursue a strategy of “cooperation and struggle”, to firmly safeguard national  independence, sovereignty, unity and territorial integrity as the ultimate objective, to maintain a peaceful and stable environment to build a strong, wealthy, democratic, equitable and civilized country, to proactively foil evil-minded schemes and sabotage activities by hostile, reactionary and opportunist forces, to resolutely defend the Party’s line and ideological base, as well as to firmly preserve the Party leadership over the State, society and the cause of Fatherland construction and defense.

Second, continuing to boost the performance of the entire political system, to uphold the strength of the great national unity in tandem with that of the times in the new situation, and to kindle the Vietnamese aspiration to rise. This matter of urgency and long-term strategic importance to the Vietnamese revolution is a politically essential task that the entire Party, military and people are to fulfil. Emphasis should be placed on boosting the performance of the entire  political  system, strengthening the roles played by the Vietnam Fatherland Front and socio-political organizations, effectively implementing regulations on grassroots democracy, further promoting the people's right to mastery, upholding the great national unity, promoting the spirit of independence, self-reliance, self-resilience, proactiveness and creativity as well as building up the people’s trust for the sake of a firm posture of “the people’s hearts and minds”.

History suggests that solidarity and discipline is a source of the Party’s strength and the nucleus of the great national unity. Therefore, it is necessary to step up Party building and rectification, to enhance the leadership capacity and combativeness of Party organizations, to make a contingent of cadres, particularly at strategic level, capable of their assigned tasks in the new situation. At the same time, ministries, sectors, agencies, Party organizations and Party members should proactively combat manifestations of degradation in political ideology, morality and lifestyle as well as “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” from within in order to make the Party truly pure and strong politically, ideologically, organizationally and morally. Doing so helps to mobilize forces, to generate the political and spiritual impulse and to promote the people’s strength and wisdom to make a success of national construction and defense. Amidst extensive and intensive international integration, the national strength should be closely linked with that of the times. It is essential to thoroughly grasp and consistently implement the Party’s foreign policy of independence, self-reliance, peace, friendship, cooperation and development, multilateralization and diversification of external relations, proactive and active international integration, acting as a friend, reliable partner and responsible member of the international community, thereby mobilizing resources and enlisting the support of the international community in order to create a peaceful environment for national construction and defense.

Promoting the spirit of determination to fight and win embodied in the Dien Bien Phu Campaign, we should have a strong collective will and absolute trust in the attainment of the goal of a prosperous people and a strong, democratic, equitable and civilized country. Attention should be paid to the building of an action-oriented, development-enabling government of integrity in service of the people and businesses in order to meet the requirements of socio-economic development and international integration, the completion of market economy institutions, the building of the socialist law-ruled State, the enhanced quality of writing and enforcing laws, tightened discipline, the promotion of senses of responsibility among collectives and individuals. Emphasis should be placed on boosting the performance of State-owned enterprises and public non-business units; developing the private sector into an important driver of the socialist-oriented market economy; creating favourable conditions for innovation and start-ups; closely combining economic development with socio-cultural and human development; exercising democracy and social equality; ensuring social welfare; improving the spiritual and material life of the people, particularly revolutionary contributors, policy beneficiaries, the needy, ethnic minorities, those living in remote, border, island and disaster-torn areas; accelerating administrative reforms from the Central to local levels;  harnessing domestic and foreign resources; enhancing the effectiveness of diplomacy and international integration.

Third, focusing on building the firm all-people national defense in order to lay a solid foundation for firmly defending the country “early and from afar”. Under the sound leadership of the Party, the political-spiritual base, the spirit of determination to fight and win as well as the strength of the all-people national defense and the people’s war was elevated to a new height in the struggle for national liberation and Fatherland defense. In today’s context, enhanced defense capability is needed for the sake of the country’s independence, sovereignty and territorial integrity.

All ministries, sectors and localities should continue to thoroughly grasp and effectively implement the Party’s line on building defensive zones, particularly the posture of “the people’s hearts and minds” from the very grassroots level, thereby facilitating the building of the firm all-people national defense and security, effectively handling all possible contingencies related to national defense and security, foiling sabotage plots by reactionary and hostile forces, avoiding being get caught off guard in any circumstance

Based on the results and experiences from 10 years’ implementation of the 10th Politburo’s Resolution 28-NQ/TW, it is necessary to continue to perfect institutions, to enhance the effectiveness of the State management over national defense, to promote defense and security education in order to bring about profound transformations in a sense of awareness of and responsibility for the task of Fatherland defense in the new situation among cadres, Party members and the people. Socio-economic development should be closely combined with the enhancement of defense and security capabilities while the implementation of strategies and plans for socio-economic development should be inextricably linked with that of the Strategy for Fatherland defense and other defense and security strategies. It is essential to foster international defense cooperation, to seize opportunities that international integration opens up in order to enhance defense and security capabilities, to broaden participation in UN peacekeeping missions, to effectively handle major issues such as border/maritime security, cyber security, war legacy, thus contributing to firmly protecting the Fatherland “early and from afar”.

Fourth, paying due attention to making the armed forces, especially the Vietnam People’s Army (VPA) and the Vietnam People’s Public Security Forces (VPPSF) revolutionary, regular, highly skilled and gradually modernized, capable of the task of Fatherland defense in the new situation. Amidst more demanding requirements of Fatherland construction and defense in the new situation, it is necessary to continue to thoroughly grasp the Party’s military and political line and Ho Chi Minh Though, focusing on making the armed forces comprehensively strong, particularly in political terms and highly combative in order to truly serve as the absolutely loyal and trustworthy political and combat forces of the Fatherland, Party, State and people. Emphasis should be placed on stepping up the building of the VPA and the VPPSF into revolutionary, regular, highly skilled and gradually modernized forces, maintaining the Party’s absolute and direct leadership and the State’s centralized and unified management over the armed forces, making Party organizations within the VPA and the VPPSF truly pure, strong and capable of their assigned tasks.

The enhanced quality of military training, education, scientific research, logistics, defense industry and security industry should be continued while attention should be paid to policies regarding military families, particularly revolutionary contributors, war martyrs, war invalids, and sick soldiers. The armed forces should regularly increase their vigilance against all possible contingencies regarding defense and security in order to avoid being get caught off guard, continue to further learn from and emulate Ho Chi Minh’s thought, morality and lifestyle and step up the emulation movement “Determination to win”, maintain military discipline, foster solidarity among cadres, soldiers and the people, resolutely combat manifestations of “self-evolution” and “self-transformation” from within, as well as foil the plot by hostile forces to “depoliticize and civilize the armed forces”.

During nearly 75 years of building, fighting and maturing, the VPA has always upheld its venerable traditions as an army born of the people to fight for the people as well as the absolutely loyal and trustworthy political and combat forces of the Party, State and people. In any circumstance, the VPA has always fostered its blood-and-flesh relationship with the people and displayed its wisdom, courage and determination to fight and win, successfully fulfilling every task assigned by the Party, State and people, deserving to be “Uncle Ho’s soldiers” and the heroic army of the heroic Vietnamese people.

Over the past years, the Party, State and people have always paid due attention to making the armed forces in general, the VPA in particularly comprehensively strong and capable of its assigned tasks. The VPA has successfully fulfilled its functions as “an army ready for fighting, work and production”, greatly contributing to national construction and Vietnam’s bolstered image and status in the international arena. The fact that Vietnam manages to preserve her independence, sovereignty, territorial integrity and peaceful and stable environment for national development is attributed to enormous contributions and sacrifices by the armed forces who defend the Fatherland’s airspace, seas, islands and borders around the clock for the sake of the people’s peaceful and happy life.

Great contributions by beloved Uncle Ho, predecessors and elders who devoted their whole life to the revolutionary cause of the Party and the people are engraved in our minds. So are great contributions and sacrifices by generals, cadres, soldiers, wartime young volunteers and the people across the country that courageously fought and fell for the sake of the Dien Bien Phu victory and other great feats of arms in our struggles for national independence and reunification.

On the occasion of the 65th anniversary of the Dien Bien Phu victory, promoting traditional patriotism, national pride and determination to fight and win, the entire Party, military and people join hands in combining the national strength with that of the times towards the success of reform and international integration, turning Vietnam into a stronger and more beautiful country as was President Ho Chi Minh’s wish.

Nguyen Xuan Phuc, Politburo Member, Prime Minister of the Socialist Republic of Vietnam

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Promoting the role of the Military in protecting the Party, State, people and socialist regime
For the past nearly 75 years of establishment, combat and growth, under the leadership, education and training of the Communist Party of Vietnam and President Ho Chi Minh, the VPA has become increasingly strong; achieved various feats of arms and outstanding achievements, making significant contribution to glorious victories of the whole nation in the cause of national liberation, construction and defense.
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