Important contributor to stability in the Indo-Pacific region
VGP - Enhanced defence and security partnership between India and Viet Nam will be an important factor of stability in the Indo-Pacific region, said Indian Ambassador Pranay Verma.
Indian Ambassador to Viet Nam Pranay Verma made the point in an interview with the Viet Nam Government Web Portal on outcomes of the recent official visit of Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh to Viet Nam on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties between the two countries.
Defence cooperation is an important pillar of the comprehensive strategic partnership
India and Viet Nam set up the strategic partnership in 2007 and upgraded ties to comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016. Defence cooperation is an important pillar of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries. Could you brief fields of defence cooperation and the most important milestones in the defence cooperation between Viet Nam and India over the past time?
Ambassador Pranay Verma: Defence cooperation between India and Viet Nam is an important pillar of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and reflects the deep levels of mutual trust and understanding between our two countries.
During the Virtual Summit in December 2020, our leaders expressed their resolve to step up bilateral defence exchanges and affirmed that enhanced defence and security partnership between India and Viet Nam will be an important factor of stability in the Indo-Pacific region.
The defence partnership between the two countries has expanded over the years to include wide-ranging contacts between the two Defence Ministries and Defence Forces, including Defence Policy Dialogues, military to military exchanges, high-level visits, capacity building and training programmes, cooperation in UN Peace Keeping, ship visits and bilateral exercises.
A further expansion of our defence engagement is through a fast-growing defence industrial and technological collaboration focusing at defence modernization and capacity building, driven by India's Defence Lines of Credit to Viet Nam totaling US$600 million. One Line of Credit for US$ 100 million has already been completed. Others are at an advanced stage of finalization and both sides are hopeful of their early implementation.
Among our major capacity building cooperation is a grant assistance of US$ 5 million being provided by the Government of India to Viet Nam People's Army for setting up of an Army Software Park in the Telecommunication University in Nha Trang. India also regularly offers training courses to Viet Nam's defense personnel under the Indian Technical and Economic Cooperation (ITEC) program.
The defense forces of India and Viet Nam have also maintained close communication in our management of COVID-19 pandemic and the role played by our militaries in this effort. Military Medical Departments of both countries have held on-line interactions to exchange valuable experiences and to discuss response, diagnosis, preventive and treatment measures. India also conducted an online COVID-19 management course for military officials of Viet Nam, along with some other countries.
So, as you can see, we have a very active defense cooperation between India and Viet Nam that we believe is not only important for our bilateral engagement, but also makes a positive contribution to the peace, security and stability of our shared Indo-Pacific region.
Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh visited Viet Nam on the occasion of the 50th anniversary of diplomatic ties (1972-2022). During the visit, Minister of Defence Phan Van Giang held talks with Defence Minister Singh. The two ministers signed a Joint Vision Statement for Defence Partnership towards the year 2030. A memorandum of understanding on mutual support in logistics was also signed between the two ministries. How do you assess the meanings of these two documents and how do you evaluate the major outcomes of the visit?
India invites Viet Nam to join its defence industrial transformation
Ambassador Pranay Verma: India's Defence Minister Shri Rajnath Singh paid an official visit to Viet Nam from 8-10 June 2022 at the invitation of the Defence Minister of Viet Nam, His Excellency General Phan Van Giang. Apart from bilateral talks with his counterpart, Defence Minister Singh also called on President His Excellency Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister His Excellency Pham Minh Chinh. The visit was an important part of high-level exchanges to mark the 50th anniversary of our diplomatic relations this year.
In their bilateral talks, both Defence Ministers held wide-ranging discussions on effective and practical initiatives to further expand bilateral defence engagements. They also exchanged views on regional and global issues of common interest.
Among the major outcomes of the visit was a "Joint Vision Statement on India-Viet Nam Defence Partnership towards 2030" signed by the two Defence Ministers, which provides a roadmap for the future long-term development of India-Viet Nam Defence Partnership. The Joint Vision will significantly enhance the scope and scale of our existing defence cooperation.
Another important outcome was a Memorandum of Understanding on Mutual Logistics Support that was signed by the two sides during the visit. With increasing cooperative engagements between the defence forces of the two countries, this is a major step towards simplifying procedures for mutual logistics support between them.
During the visit, Defence Minister Singh also handed over 12 High Speed Guard Boats to Viet Nam at a ceremony held at Hong Ha Shipyard in Hai Phong. The boats have been constructed by the Indian manufacturer M/s Larsen & Toubro (L&T) under the Government of India's US$ 100 million Defence Line of Credit to Viet Nam. We are hopeful that this project will be a precursor to many more cooperative defence projects between India and Viet Nam in future. Our Defence Minister invited Viet Nam to become a part of India's defence industrial transformation through enhanced cooperation.
Defence Minister Singh also handed over a gift of US$ one million for the establishment of a foreign language training laboratory during his visit to Viet Nam's Air Force Officers Training School in Nha Trang.
He also visited the Viet Nam People's Army's Telecommunications University in Nha Trang, where an Army Software Park is being established with US$ 5 million grant from Government of India.
From these outcomes, you can clearly see that it was a very substantive and successful visit, which paved the way for further deepening and consolidation of our defence partnership. The visit reaffirmed the importance of Viet Nam in India's Act East Policy and the Indo-Pacific Vision.
Important contributor to the stability of Indo-Pacific region
In your opinion, what are the prospects for defence cooperation between the two countries in coming time?
Ambassdor Pranay Verma: India-Viet Nam defence partnership will continue to remain a key pillar of our Comprehensive Strategic Partnership and an important contributor to the peace, stability and prosperity of our shared Indo-Pacific region.
Our defence cooperation will continue to be guided by the historic "Joint Vision for Peace, Prosperity and People" adopted by our Prime Ministers at the Virtual Summit on December 21 2020 and implemented as per the new "Joint Vision Statement on India-Viet Nam Defence Partnership towards 2030" signed by the two Defence Ministers. As affirmed by our leaders, enhanced defence and security partnership between India and Viet Nam will be an important factor of stability in the Indo-Pacific region.