India, Vietnam resolve to expand defence cooperation

India and Vietnam vowed on Thursday to further enhance military-to-military ties and agreed to speed up cooperation in the defence industry and technology domains, officials said.

Ways to further deepen cooperation under the framework of the India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership figured prominently during a virtual interaction between Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Vietnamese counterpart, Sr Lt Gen. Phan Van Giang.

The defence ministry said the two ministers reviewed the progress on the current initiatives and expressed commitment to further enhance engagements between the defence forces of the two countries.

“The ministers agreed to initiate measures to enhance cooperation in the defence industry and the technology domain and look forward to greater synergy in effectively deepening bilateral cooperative engagements across the spectrum,” it said.

It said both sides look forward to concluding the Joint Vision Statement 2021-25 at the earliest opportunity.

Vietnam, an important country of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), has territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea region.

India has oil exploration projects in the Vietnamese waters in the South China Sea.

China claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, several ASEAN member countries, including Vietnam, the Philippines and Brunei, have counterclaims.

“Had an excellent talk with the Defence Minister of Vietnam, Sr. Lt. Gen. Phan Van Giang today. India and Vietnam have a strong and effective relationship. India attaches great importance to bilateral defence cooperation with Vietnam,” Singh tweeted.

“Both India and Vietnam share a long-standing tradition of helping each other in difficult times. We have achieved substantial progress in defence industry cooperation in recent years,” he said.

The defence ministry said the two ministers expressed satisfaction at the ongoing activities between the two countries, despite the limitations caused by the coronavirus pandemic.

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