With China flexing its muscles in the South China Sea, India will hand over to Vietnam twelve high speed coast guard boats under its $100 million defence line of credit to the South East Asian nation next week.
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will be paying an official visit to Vietnam from 8-10 June at the invitation of Vietnam’s Minister of National Defence General Phan Van Giang.
He will preside over the ceremony to hand over these boats to the Vietnamese authorities. The project is significant in the context of the growing defence industry cooperation with Vietnam and exemplifies Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India, ‘Make for the World’.
Rajnath will hold bilateral talks with General Phan Van Giang, during which both the ministers will review defence cooperation between the two countries and explore new initiatives to further strengthen the defence engagements.
They will also exchange views on regional and global issues of shared interest. The Indian minister is also scheduled to call on President of Vietnam Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.
During the visit, Rajnath will also visit the training institutions of Vietnam at Nha Trang, including the Telecommunication University where an Army Software Park is being established with the $5 million grant from the Government of India. He will also attend a community event organised by the Embassy of India, Hanoi and interact with the Indian diaspora in Vietnam.
India and Vietnam, both of whom share an uneasy relationship with China, have shared 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 Peacekeeping, ship visits and bilateral exercises.
Rajnath’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.