India plays Chinese checkers, steps up military ties with Vietnam

The Narendra Modi government is playing its own version of Chinese checkers as India pushed the envelope for ties with Vietnam by agreeing to supply naval vessels to Hanoi and underlined its strategic intent to spur the modernisation of the military infrastructure in the Southeast Asian country.
In defiance of Chinese objections, the prime ministers of India and Vietnam met in Delhi and decided to ramp up their defence and energy ties. Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung’s visit to Delhi was advertised as predominantly focused on galvanising economic aspects of the relationship, but has ended up as delivering clear-cut outcomes in military and strategic spheres.
India’s proactive military and economic diplomatic engagement with Vietnam indicates that the Modi government is set to be more assertive in countering China’s designs in India’s immediate and extended neighbourhood. India has watched warily as China has deliberately expanded its economic and military footprints in India’s neighbouring countries.

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