Defense Minister Rajnath Singh arrived in Vietnam on Tuesday for a three-day visit, reflecting the growing congruence of maritime security cooperation with the key Southeast Asian country amid muscle flexing growth of China in the region.
Singh was greeted at the airport by India’s Ambassador to Vietnam Pranay Verma and senior officers from Vietnam’s Ministry of National Defence.
“Honourable RM, Shri Rajnath Singh arrived in Hanoi for an official visit to Vietnam from June 8 to 10, 2022. He was met at the airport by Ambassador Pranay Verma and senior officers from the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence” , India’s embassy said on Twitter.
Hon. RM, Shri Rajnath Singh arrived in Hanoi for an official visit to Vietnam from June 8-10, 2022. He was met at the airport by Amb. Pranay Verma and senior officers from the Vietnamese Ministry of National Defence. @MEAIndia@MoD Spokesperson@indiannavy@AmritMahotsavpic.twitter.com/aqxkdCeNwS
— India in Vietnam (@AmbHanoi) June 7, 2022
In New Delhi, the Defense Ministry said Rajnath Singh’s visit to Vietnam from June 8 to 10 aims to further consolidate bilateral defense ties as well as comprehensive strategic partnership.
The Minister of Defense will hold in-depth talks with his Vietnamese counterpart, General Phan Van Giang, focusing on exploring new initiatives to further strengthen defense commitments, in addition to exchanging views on regional and global issues of common concern, he added.
Singh is also due to visit Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.
Vietnam, an important ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) country, has territorial disputes with China in the strategic South China Sea region.
India, the United States and several other world powers have spoken of the need to ensure a free, open and prosperous Indo-Pacific amid China’s aggressive military maneuvers in the region.
China also claims almost all of the disputed South China Sea, although Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.
India has oil exploration projects in Vietnamese waters of the South China Sea. India and Vietnam have been enhancing maritime security cooperation in recent years to safeguard their common interests.
“At the Hong Ha Shipyard in Hai Phong, the Defense Minister will preside over the handover ceremony of 12 high-speed guard boats built under the Government of India’s $100 million Defense Line of Credit to Vietnam .”
“This project is significant in the context of growing defense industry cooperation with Vietnam and exemplifies Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India, Make for the World’,” said the ministry said in a statement.
During his tour of Vietnam, Mr. Singh will also visit training institutions in the country in Nha Trang, including the University of Telecommunications where an army software park is being created thanks to a grant of 5 million. dollars from India.
He will also attend a community event organized by the Indian Embassy in Hanoi and interact with the Indian community.
“The Defense Minister’s visit on the historic occasion of 50 years of establishment of Indo-Vietnamese diplomatic relations and 75 years of India’s independence will further consolidate bilateral defense cooperation and strategic partnership overall,” the ministry said.
Relations between the two countries were elevated to a “strategic partnership” level during the visit of then Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to India in July 2007.
In 2016, during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Vietnam, bilateral relations were further elevated to a “comprehensive strategic partnership”.
Vietnam has become an important partner in the Indian Act East policy and the Indo-Pacific vision.
Last week, Saurabh Kumar, Secretary (East) at the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), visited Vietnam for the 12th round of political consultations and the ninth round of strategic dialogue in Hanoi.
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