India & Vietnam seal ‘rare’ 10-yr vision statement among key defence pacts as China threat looms
During Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s 3-day visit, the two sides also agreed to fast-track a $500-million line of credit to Vietnam which it can use to buy key equipment from India
Islam News – India and Vietnam Wednesday signed key pacts including a rare 10-year vision document that seeks to deepen bilateral defence cooperation between the two countries amid territorial challenges from China.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh, on a three-day visit to Vietnam, held bilateral talks with his Vietnamese counterpart during which the two sides agreed to fast-track the extension of a $500-million line of credit to Hanoi — to be used to buy key defence equipment from India, which could include the BrahMos supersonic missile that Vietnam has been eyeing for some time.
Moreover, sources in the defence and security establishment said Hanoi and New Delhi also held discussions on the procurement of other equipment including the Akash air defence system and coastal radars.
India and Vietnam have shared a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) since 2016 and defence cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership.
Vietnam’s military budget has seen a rise of nearly 600 per cent over the last decade, sources said, adding that this shows Hanoi’s focus on defence preparedness. A member of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) grouping, Vietnam has territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea region.
Bilateral ties between Hanoi and New Delhi, on the other hand, have deepened over the years. India was even awarded oil exploration projects in Vietnamese waters in the South China Sea.
Raksha Mantri’s visit
During his three-day visit, Rajnath Singh will also preside over a ceremony to hand over 12 high-speed guard boats under India’s existing $100-million defence line of credit to Vietnam.
Apart from Vietnam’s Minister of National Defence, General Phan Van Giang, Singh also called on Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.
The Ministry of Defence (MoD) in a statement said Singh had wide-ranging discussions on effective and practical initiatives to further expand bilateral defence engagements and regional and global issues with his Vietnamese counterpart.
The two also signed the ‘Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defence Partnership towards 2030’, which aims to enhance the scope and scale of existing defence cooperation.
Sources said it’s rare for Vietnam to sign an 10-year joint vision statement, since Hanoi restricts its bilateral commitments with most countries to five years and less.
A memorandum of understanding (MoU) on mutual logistics support was also inked in the presence of the two defence ministers.
Source: The Print