India and Vietnam share a rich history of civilisational and cultural linkages spanning over 2,000 years. India and Vietnam continue to have the most trustworthy relations in contemporary times with broader convergence of interests and common concerns. Relations between the two countries were elevated to the level of ‘strategic partnership’ during the visit of Vietnam’s then Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to India in July 2007. Vietnam is an important country in the ASEAN and strengthening India’s strategic relationship with Vietnam is an important component of the Act East Policy of India.
The defence cooperation between the two countries was further strengthened as India and Vietnam signed a “Joint Vision Statement” on June 8, 2022, for Defence Partnership towards the year 2030 to enhance the scope and scale of defence cooperation between the countries. This key vision statement was signed during Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s official visit to Vietnam. It was signed after the Indian Defence Minister’s met with his Vietnamese counterpart General Phan Van Giang. The two countries renewed interactions on expanding bilateral cooperation as their close Defence and Security cooperation is an important factor of stability in the Indo-Pacific region. They had a wide-ranging discussion on effective and practical initiatives to further expand bilateral defence engagements and other issues.
After coming to a conclusion, they signed the ‘Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defence Partnership towards 2030’, which is expected to significantly enhance the scope and scale of their defence cooperation. This project is significant in the context of the growing defence industry cooperation with Vietnam.
India and Vietnam share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership since 2016 and defence cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership. Vietnam is an important partner in India’s Act East policy and the Indo-Pacific vision. Bilateral defence engagements have expanded over a period of time to include wide-ranging contacts between the two countries, including defence policy dialogues, military-to-military exchanges, high-level visits, capacity building and training programmes, cooperation in UN Peace Keeping, ship visits and bilateral exercises.
A Memorandum of Understanding on Mutual Logistics Support was also inked in the presence of both the Ministers. In these times of increasing cooperative engagements between the defence forces of the two countries, this is a major step towards simplifying procedures for mutually beneficial logistic support and is the first such major agreement which Vietnam has signed with any country.
Both Ministers also agreed on an early finalisation of the $US 500 million Defence Line of Credit extended to Vietnam. Implementation of the projects shall add substantially to Vietnam’s Defence capabilities and further Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Make in India, Make for the World’.
The Minister also announced gifted two simulators and a monetary grant towards setting up of Language and IT Lab at Air Force Officers Training School for capacity building of the Vietnamese Armed Forces.
The Indian Defence Minister handed over 12 High- Speed Guard Boats to Vietnam during his visit to Hong Ha Shipyard in Hai Phong on June 09, 2022. The boats have been constructed under the Government of India’s $US 100 million Defence Line of Credit to Vietnam. The initial five boats were built in the Larsen & Toubro (L&T) Shipyard in India and the other seven in Hong Ha Shipyard. Rajnath Singh invited Vietnam to become a part of India’s defence industrial transformation through enhanced cooperation. The objective of India is to build a domestic industry in order to make India a defence manufacturing hub that not only caters to the domestic needs, but also fulfils international requirements.
The Defence Minister’s visit on the historic occasion of 50 years of establishment of India-Vietnam Diplomatic relations and 75 years of India’s Independence will further consolidate the bilateral defence cooperation and the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.
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