Sunday, October 17, 2010

India Expands Defense Ties With Vietnam

India and Vietnam are strengthening defense ties, including plans for joint training and improving Vietnamese naval repair and maintenance abilities.

Indian Defence Minister A.K. Antony announced the policy during bilateral meetings with his Vietnamese counterpart, Gen. Phung Quang Thanh, and Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung in Hanoi on Oct. 13, said an Indian Defence Ministry news release.

"The armies of the two countries will also cooperate in areas like Information Technology (IT) and English Training of Vietnamese Army personnel. Both the armies will also have joint training in mountain and jungle warfare in India next year. The two sides will work toward developing cooperation among defense institutes and establishing linkages for sharing experience and knowledge," Antony told the Vietnamese leaders, according to the news release.

While helping Vietnam upgrade its military capabilities generally, India will focus on boosting Vietnam's ability to repair and maintain its naval platforms.

India has been increasing defense ties with countries in the South East Asian region as part of a policy called "Look East," to counter the growing influence of China.

"Antony said Vietnam occupies a strategic position in New Delhi's policy priorities, both bilaterally as well as under its Look East Policy," the news release said.

India has already trained Vietnamese personnel at India's shipbuilding yard, Mazagon Docks in Mumbai. India also is considering the sale of unspecified numbers of offshore patrol vessels and fast attack craft to Vietnam.

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