(with inputs from Sidhant Sibal)
India has assured Vietnam of help in modernisation of its armed forces as both sides work on a new joint vision statement.
The commitment came as Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held bilateral talks with his Vietnamese counterpart General Ngo Xuan Lich over video-conferencing on Friday.
To this end, reports say, Singh told his counterpart that defence cooperation has been one of the most significant pillars of the Comprehensive Strategic Partnership initiated by the two countries in 2016.
Vietnam is keen on acquiring a host of military equipment, including India’s Akash air defence system and the Dhruv helicopters, besides the BrahMos.
Vietnam notably has maritime border issues with China in the South China Sea, over Hanoi’s interest in acquiring the Indo-Russian supersonic cruise missile BrahMos.
Also, as part of increased defence cooperation, India and Vietnam have agreed on joint training of pilots by the respective air forces and training of forces to be deployed in UN Peacekeeping missions.
A readout of the meet from Indian defence ministry said both ministers “discussed various ongoing projects and the future trajectory of bilateral Defense engagements…(and) expressed satisfaction that despite the COVID-19 situation Defense exchanges between both Armed Forces have maintained positive momentum.”
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Both countries are also looking at collaborating in a number of domains of defense cooperation like shipbuilding, surface and subsurface capacities like submarines at sea. New Delhi has already extended defence Lines of Credit worth USD 600 million to strengthen Vietnam’s domestic defence manufacturing.
Both sides also signed the agreement on Hydrographic cooperation that will enable the sharing of Hydrographic data and assist in the production of navigational charts by both sides.
The Vietnamese defence minister invited the Indian defence minister for ASEAN Defence Ministers’ Meeting (ADMM) and also the meeting being hosted by Vietnam on December 10 through virtual mode.
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