During talks between Vietnamese Minister of Defence Ngo Xuan Lich and his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi on December 5, the two sides expressed their belief that the former’s visit to India from December 4-7 will strengthen relations between the two countries’ peoples and armies.
Minister Lich said the elevation of bilateral defence collaboration to a new height will contribute to the comprehensive strategic partnership agreed by top leaders in September 2016.
The two ministers highlighted the traditional friendship between Vietnam and India, which was founded by late President Ho Chi Minh and Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and nurtured by generations of leaders and peoples of the two nations.
India is a close and reliable friend to Vietnam, Lich said, adding that the Vietnamese Government and people remember India’s assistance in the cause of national independence and reform.
He noted that India considers Vietnam a key pillar in the “Act East Policy”, while Vietnam is willing to serve as a bridge for India to develop ties with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Both sides expressed their pleasure at bilateral collaboration in training, peace keeping, strategies research and viewpoints exchanges at multilateral forums.
The Vietnam People’s Navy and the Indian Navy have signed an agreement sharing information on non-military marine services, while the Indian defence company Larsen & Toubro has inked a contract to build patrol vessels for the Vietnam Coast Guard using a 100-million-USD credit package of the Indian Government.
Other significant outcomes include the signing of a cooperation programme between the two countries’ peacekeeping centres and the joint exercise between Vietnamese marine police and Indian coast guard in October 2016.
The two ministers agreed on a number of issues to implement the Joint Vision Statement on Vietnam-India Defence Relations for the 2015-2020 period such as increasing all-level delegation exchanges, especially among young military officials, promoting the deputy ministerial-level defence policy dialogue, and enhancing collaboraton in training.
India pledged to help Vietnam train officials while Vietnam is willing to receive Indian students to study Vietnamese and open training courses for international senior officials at the Vietnam National Defence Academy.
The two sides also attached importance to naval cooperation to carry out activities on search and rescue at sea and implement the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea.
Regarding the defence industry, the Indian Minister said Prime Minister Narendra Modi reaffirmed India’s interest in steeping up cooperation with Vietnam and pledged to provide a US$500-million credit package to implement joint projects in this field.
After talks, the two ministers witnessed the signing of a cooperation agreement between the Vietnam Air Defence – Air Force and the Indian Air Force.
A conference was held the same day to discuss bilateral cooperation in defence industry.