Ansari concludes Vietnam visit with a tour of war tunnels
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"Great experience, bravo for Vietnam," wrote an excited Salma Ansari, Vice-President Hamid Ansari's wife, in the visitor's book at the historic Cu Chi tunnels, located outside Ho Chi Minh city. Hamid Ansari wrote in his entry after an hour-long tour of the tunnels, "This is a unique, unforgettable experience which gave me a glimpse — only a glimpse — of the historic resistance of the people of Vietnam against foreign invaders."
As Ansari and his delegation, including the Minister of State (independent charge), Corporate Affairs, Sachin Pilot, toured the tunnels, there were many memorable moments and issues discussed.
The tunnels of Cu Chi form a network connecting underground tunnels located about two-hour drive away from Ho Chi Minh City. These tunnels were the location of several military campaigns during the Vietnam War and served as the Viet Cong's base for operations. The tunnels were used by Viet Cong guerrillas as hiding spots during combats. They also served as communication and supply routes. The tunnels were of great importance to the Viet Cong in their resistance to American forces, and helped achieve military success.
As Ansari and his entire entourage toured the tunnels, at one point, a Vietnamese guide asked the members to try going inside one of the small tunnels as another demonstrated how to enter it. Former Uttarakhand chief minister and senior BJP leader Bhagat Singh Koshiyari took up the challenge, and tried to enter the tunnel, as Ansari quipped, "you are my responsibility". Though dissuaded by his colleagues, the 71-year-old leader entered the tunnel. Salma Ansari made an effort to enter another tunnel.
The narrow tunnels have been preserved and re-constructed to showcase the Vietnamese narrative of the 1971 war. While Ansari walked through the narrow dirt-track in the jungles, Pilot told him that compared to the Second World War, as per the Vietnam War Museum, the Americans used twice the number of bombs during this war.
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