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Ansari visits historic resistance tunnels in south Vietnam

Last updated on: January 17, 2013 12:41 IST

Ansari visits historic resistance tunnels in south Vietnam

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Saisuresh Sivaswamy in Ho Chi Minh City

Vice President Hamid Ansari on Thursday morning visited the historic Cu Chi camp 50 kilometres from Ho Chi Minh City, the former Saigon, where an intricate network of underground tunnels barely enough for small-built human beings to move were built over 20 years -- from the 1940s to the 1960s -- by the locals to frustrate first France's and then America's military.

The Cu Chi camp is an intrinsic part of Vietnam's war memorabilia and preserves the tunnels, and the indigenous methods employed by barely literate locals, to thwart the technological war machine of the United States of America that pummeled the landscape with everything it got before giving up the war.

Ansari, decked in walking shoes, was accompanied by his wife Salma, Minister of State for Corporate Affairs Sachin Pilot, and a sizeable delegation of officials including members of Parliament. He kept up a brisk pace belying his 75 years, and listened keenly to the running commentary provided by an official of the camp.

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Image: Vice President Hamid Ansari at Cu Chi camp with wife Salma
Photographs: Saisuresh Sivaswamy/Rediff.com

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Ansari visits historic resistance tunnels in south Vietnam

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Declining the offer to go down one of the tunnels maintained for the tourists even while his wife jumped at it, Ansari said with a proud smile, "Salma is very active, she even climbed Ayers Rock in Australia!"

Bharatiya Janata Party's MP Bhagat Singh Khoshiyari too tried gamely to enter the tunnel and crawl out through the exit, but gave up after pleas from the delegation.

After a tour through the camp lasting a good 45 minutes, Ansari wrote in the visitor's book: 'This is a unique, unforgettable experience which gave me and my delegation a glimpse -- only a glimpse -- of the heroic resistance of the people of Vietnam against foreign invaders. This will be recorded in the annals of history.'

He then returned to Ho Chi Minh City where he will attend a reception hosted by the Indian community in Vietnam's commercial capital in the afternoon before emplaning for New Delhi.

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Image: Ansari signs the visitors book at Cu Chi camp
Photographs: Saisuresh Sivaswamy/Rediff.com

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