Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held a meeting on Wednesday with the Defence Minister of Vietnam, General Phan Van Giang.
Rajnath Singh, who is on a three-day visit to Vietnam, during the bilateral meeting with the Defence Minister of Vietnam, discussed ways to further bolster the bilateral cooperation between the two nations. The leaders also discussed regional and global issues.
Calling India-Vietnam defence and security cooperation as an important factor, the leaders emphasised on effective and practical initiatives to further expand bilateral Defence engagements.
In a major step towards stepping up military cooperation, India-Vietnam also exchanged a Memorandum of Understanding on Mutual Logistics Support which will facilitate reciprocal access to military logistics facilities. Notably, this is the first such major agreement which Vietnam has signed with any country.
To further deepen existing defence ties between India and Vietnam, the leaders jointly signed the ‘Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defence Partnership towards 2030’.
During the high-level meeting, “Both ministers also agreed for early finalisation of US$ 500 million Defence Line of Credit extended to Vietnam. Implementation of the projects shall add substantially to Vietnam’s Defence capabilities and further Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of Make in India, Make for the World.”
Defence Minister Rajnath Singh began his official visit to Vietnam by paying homage at the Mausoleum of founding father of Vietnam, President Ho Chi Minh, in Hanoi and also laid a wreath at the Monument for War Heroes and Martyrs, as a mark of respect to Vietnam’s gallant war heroes.
Notably, the Defence Minister’s visit to Vietnam comes at the time when the countries are celebrating 50 years of diplomatic relations. India established diplomatic relations with Vietnam on January 7, 1972.
Speaking of India and Vietnam relations, Defence Minister Rajnath Singh said, “India and Vietnam share a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership & defence cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership. Vietnam is an important partner in India’s Act East policy & Indo-Pacific vision.”
50 years of diplomatic ties: India-Vietnam transforming relations
Guided by working on a shared commitment of peace, prosperity and people, India-Vietnam share traditionally close and cordial bilateral relations, with a significant shift witnessed in their bilateral ties in recent past.
Relations between the two countries were elevated to the level of “Strategic Partnership” during the visit of Vietnam’s Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to India in July 2017. Later, in 2016, the bilateral relations between the two countries were elevated to a “Comprehensive Strategic Partnership.”
While defence cooperation is a key pillar of this partnership, Vietnam is an important partner in India’s Act East Policy & Indo-Pacific vision.
Bilateral defence engagements between India and Vietnam have expanded over a period of time with military to military exchanges, high level visits, capacity building and training programs, cooperation in UN Peace Keeping, bilateral exercises, among others.
According to the Ministry of External Affairs, the defence industrial collaboration focusing at defence modernization and capacity building driven by India’s Defence Lines of Credit to Vietnam stands at US$600 million.
On the other hand, the trade relations between both nations have also witnessed significant growth over the years. According to Indian statistics for Financial Year 2021-22, bilateral trade between India and Vietnam posted a growth of 27% and reached US$ 14.14 billion. While Indian exports to Vietnam reached US$ 6.70 billion (increase of 34%), while Indian imports from Vietnam amounted to US$ 7.44 billion (increase of 21%).
The bonhomie between the two nations was also witnessed amidst the burgeoning coronavirus crisis, with the countries standing up for each other in their battle against COVID-19.