India on 28 October 2014 announced to modernise defence forces of Vietnam. During the visit of the Vietnamese Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung, Prime Minister of India Narendra Modi gave a commitment to modernise Vietnam’s defence and security forces.
In regard to this, the two countries signed several agreements, including a memorandum of understanding (MoU) for exploration by ONGC Videsh Limited in two blocks in the South China Sea. There was also an announcement of the operationalisation of the 100 million US dollar line of credit (LoC) for Vietnam’s defence purchases.
Vietnam has agreed to buy four patrol vessels for its Navy under the LoC Scheme but is yet to formally identify the shipyard it wants them from.
Vietnam wants the vessel for surveillance off its coast and around its military bases in the Spratly island chain in the South China Sea where it is building a credible naval deterrent to China with Kilo-class submarines from Russia.
India and Vietnam have a long-standing defence relationship but it has been restricted to military exchanges, training, spares and maintenance of military hardware.
With the decision to step up supplying vessels and training the Vietnamese navy, the Indian Government seems to be backing the tough words with conscious action. The Vietnamese government now will be free to place orders with either government or private Indian vendors.
This was especially significant as they would be deployed to police the South China Sea, areas of which were under dispute with China.
The Prime Minister of Vietnam highly appreciated India’s position with regard to the East Sea [South China Sea] issue and India’s continued cooperation with Vietnam in oil and gas exploration.
When: 28 October 2014