Hanoi signs military deals with India

China is unlikely to be overly concerned about the arrival of the Indian navy in the South China Sea. Source: Wikimedia


Vietnam and India have reiterated their interest in deeper bilateral defence co-operation to establish regional peace, stability and prosperity, as Hanoi looks for new ways to stand up to Beijing in the South China Sea. 

India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar has held talks in New Delhi with Hanoi’s military chief, Ngo Xuan Lich. He said India had always been a close and reliable friend and he attached great importance to their defence co-operation.

India and Vietnam share concerns about China’s growing dominance in the Asia-Pacific region, and are steadily building cooperation in military training, exercises and defence technology, as well as in joint oil exploration in disputed areas of the South China Sea.

The friendship between the two nations was established by founding president Ho Chi Minh and prime minister Jawaharlal Nehru.

Lich said the Vietnamese remembered India’s help during the independence struggle, adding that Vietnam could act as a bridge for India to develop Asean ties.

India already trains Vietnamese sailors in operating Kilo-class submarines, which Hanoi began using in January 2014. India operates over 200 Su-30MKI fighters and nine Kilo-class diesel electric submarines.

Both India and Vietnam operate Russian Su-30 jets although the two countries’ models differ slightly.

India already trains Vietnamese sailors in operating Kilo class submarines, which Hanoi had begun inducting since January 2014. India operates over 200 Su-30MKI fighters and nine Kilo-class diesel electric submarines.

A strategic partnership was agreed in September, when India’s Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the country.

Lich and Parrikar also signed a co-operation programme between their peace-keeping centres and praised joint exercises between Vietnam’s marine police and the Indian coast guard in October.

India has offered to export the BrahMos supersonic cruise missiles, Varunastra anti-submarine torpedoes and other military hardware to Vietnam.

The navies signed a deal to share information on non-military marine services, while the Indian firm Larsen & Toubro has agreed to build patrol vessels for the Vietnamese coastguard through a New Delhi US$100-million credit package.

Hanoi agreed to receive Indian students to study Vietnamese and open training courses at the Vietnam National Defence Academy.

“Both countries are going to further crank up their defence ties, with Parrikar also offering partnership in setting up defence manufacturing capacity in Vietnam. General Lich, who also met the PM and national security adviser Ajit Doval on Monday, said he wanted the two countries to also work closely in multilateral fora like the ADMM-Plus [Asean defence ministers’ meeting-plus],” an unnamed source told the Times of India.