Amid the continuing volatility in South China Sea, India and Vietnam have decided to bolster their defence cooperation, which is set to be resented by Beijing.
India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar held bilateral talks with his Vietnamese counterpart General Ngo Xuan Lich in Hanoi on June 5. Vietnam has expressed interest in acquiring Indian-made BrahMos supersonic cruise missile. India is expected to respond positively. If negotiations are successful, Vietnam will become the first country to get the 290 km-range BrahMos weapon system. Brahmos is a joint venture between India and Russia.
The contentious South China Sea issue also figured in the discussions. Mr Parrikar’s first visit to Vietnam comes amid growing resentment in the region over China’s muscular postures in South China Sea. India has called for a regional framework for security management to peacefully resolve disputes, threat and use of force in the Indo-Pacific region.
“Regional framework for security management must enshrine a commitment to the peaceful resolution of disputes, the threat or use of force,” Mr Parrikar had said during his address at the 15th Shangri-La Dialogue. India and Vietnam had decided to enhance their bilateral defence cooperation and signed a joint vision statement for five years in 2015.
Vietnam has expressed keen interest in India training its submarine personnel. Hanoi has been focusing on building a naval deterrent to China with Russian-made Kilo-class submarines.
India’s expanding relationship with Vietnam is viewed suspiciously by China, which sees it as part of New Delhi’s China containment strategy. India has denied any hidden agenda, and underlined that its relationship with Vietnam is based on shared interests.
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