Aug 19, 2021 / 11:06

Navies of Vietnam and India conduct joint exercises

Defense ties between the two countries have been robust with a wide range of cooperation, including frequent port calls paid by Indian ships over the past years.

Vietnam and India undertook a joint maritime exercise on August 18 during the ongoing deployment of Indian Navy ships in the East Sea (South China Sea).

INS Ranvijay and INS Kora together with the Vietnam People’s Navy (VPN) Gepard-class frigate Ly Thai To (HQ-012) joined the “bilateral interaction” that aims to “consolidate the strong bond shared by the two navies,” according to the Indian Ministry of Defense.

 An Indian ship upholds free navigation. Photo: India's Ministry of Defense 

The activities would be “another step towards strengthening India-Vietnam defense relations,” it noted.

The Indian Naval ships arrived at Cam Ranh, Vietnam on August 15 for the harbor phase, which included professional interactions with VPN maintaining extant Covid-19 protocols and sea phase that includes surface warfare exercises, weapon firing drills, and helicopter operations.

Regular interactions between the two navies over the years have enhanced their interoperability and adaptability. This has ensured a quantum jump in the complexity and scale of professional exchanges.

This visit also holds special importance as Indian Naval ships celebrated the country’s 76th Independence Day in Vietnam, which falls on September 2.

Indian Naval ships have been frequently visiting Vietnamese ports together with training cooperation between the two navies.

In June this year, the two countries undertook a defense security dialogue.

Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma (L) and Sen. Lt. Gen Hoang Xuan Chien, Vietnam’s Deputy Minister of National Defence in Hanoi on August 11. Photo: Embassy of India in Hanoi

In the latest move, on August 11, Indian Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma handed over a cheque worth US$1 million to Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defence. This is the first tranche of the $5 million grant provided by the Government of India for the establishment of the Army Software Park at Telecommunication University in Vietnam’s central city of Nha Trang.

Speaking at the handover ceremony, Sen. Lt. Gen. Hoang Xuan Chien, Vietnamese Minister of National Defence said: “This support is very important, helping to raise the software development capacity and improve Vietnam’s human resources in information technology and foreign languages towards Vietnam’s Industry 4.0.”

Defense cooperation is an important pillar of the India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The bilateral defense engagements have diversified to wide-ranging contacts between the services, military to military exchanges, including visits of senior military leaders, capacity building, training programs, and bilateral exercises.

Defense cooperation is an important pillar of the India-Vietnam Comprehensive Strategic Partnership. The bilateral defense engagements have diversified to wide-ranging contacts between the services, military to military exchanges, including visits of senior military leaders, capacity building, training programs, and bilateral exercises.

Among the fields of cooperation, shipbuilding is considered iconic in the India-Vietnam defense partnership. In fact, shipbuilding is part of India’s commitments worth a US$600 million credit line to Vietnam’s defense capacity building.

Ambassador Pranay Verma described the India-funded shipbuilding project as an icon of the India-Vietnam Defense Partnership, saying that the shipbuilding project reflects India’s commitments towards defense industry cooperation with Vietnam and capacity building of Vietnamese defense forces.

The ambassador made the statement in April to launch and lay the keel of two out of 12 high-speed guard boats being built for the Vietnam Border Guard Command under the US$100 million Defense Line of Credit extended by the Government of India.