. India sees Vietnam as a trustworthy friendly foreign country with shared strategic concerns and common interests. Both countries are collaborating in multiple domains of defence cooperation like ship-building, surface and subsurface capacities at sea and have plans for enhancing their collaboration in the above field.
Indian Union Defence Minister Rajnath Singh on 27th November in his interaction with his Vietnamese counterpart General Ngo Xuan Lich over video-conferencing assured Vietnam of India’s help in modernisation of its armed forces, with a focus on enhancing maritime capabilities, as both sides work on a new joint vision statement. Vietnam is keen on acquiring a host of military equipment, including India’s Akash air defence system and the Dhruv helicopters, besides the BrahMos. India has been in talks with Vietnam, which has maritime border issues with China in the South China Sea, over Hanoi’s interest in acquiring the Indo-Russian supersonic cruise missile BrahMos.
There is overwhelming convergence on international and regional issues between the two nations. This stems from the principles both countries follow. They both believe in multi-lateralism based on equality, respect for territorial integrity and sovereignty of all nations, respect for international law and order and building economic relations with other countries for mutual benefits but not based on exploitation and coercion, providing humanitarian assistance during the pandemic without any selfish motive. The above has brought the two nations very close, which has four pillars. First is the diplomatic-political that envisages close coordination on critical bilateral, regional and international issues. Both support each other on various international and regional forums. Second is the trade and economic relations for mutual benefit, which have significantly improved over the years particularly after ASEAN- India Free Trade Agreement was signed. India realises that Vietnam is a potential regional power in the South East Asia with great political stability and substantial economic growth.
The third is the defence dimension. While Vietnam is interested in modernising its armed forces, India is interested in developing defence capabilities of its South East Asian friends sufficiently to maintain peace in the strategic region and in this Vietnam occupies the most important place as it has always stood up against the Chinese coercion. The defence relations include capacity building, dealing with common security concerns, training of personnel, and cooperation in defence R&D. In addition, people to