|Việt Nam’s Defence Minister Ngô Xuân Lịch and his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar witness the signing of a co-operation agreement between the Việt Nam Air Defence and Air Force and the Indian Air Force in New Delhi. – VNA/VNS Photo|
NEW DELHI – Việt Nam and India on Monday reiterated their desire to improve their bilateral defence co-operation for mutual benefit, peace, stability and prosperity in the Asia-Pacific region.
During talks with India’s Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi, Defence Minister Ngô Xuân Lịch said India has always been a close, reliable friend and Việt Nam attaches great importance to their defence co-operation.
The friendship between the two nations was established by late President Hồ Chí Minh and late Prime Minister Jawaharlal Nehru, and since then, the relationship has been nurtured, by generations of leaders and citizens.
People in Việt Nam remember India’s help in the cause of its Independence and reform, Lịch said. While India considers Việt Nam a key pillar in its Act East Policy, Việt Nam is also willing to serve as a bridge for India to develop ties with other members of the Association of Southeast Asian Nations (ASEAN).
Raising bilateral defence collaboration to a new level will contribute to the comprehensive strategic partnership agreed by the top leaders in September, when Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the country.
Lịch and Parrikar expressed their pleasure at the bilateral collaboration in training, peace-keeping, strategies research and exchanges of ideas at multilateral forums, as well as the signing of a co-operation programme between the two countries’ peacekeeping centres and a joint exercise between Vietnamese marine police and Indian coast guard in October 2016.
The Việt Nam People’s Navy and the Indian Navy have signed an agreement to share information on non-military marine services, while the Indian firm Larsen & Toubro has inked a contract to build patrol vessels for Việt Nam Coast Guard through the Indian government’s US$100-million credit package.
The two ministers agreed on a number of issues, such as the implementation of a Joint Vision Statement on Việt Nam-India Defence Relations for the 2015-2020 period, which involves increasing all-level delegation exchanges, especially among young military officials, promoting deputy ministerial-level defence policy dialogue, and enhancing collaboration in training.
India has pledged to help Việt Nam train officials, while Việt Nam has agreed to receive Indian students to study Vietnamese and open training courses for senior officials at the Việt Nam National Defence Academy.
The two sides also highlighted the importance of naval co-operation to carry out search-and-rescue operations at sea and implement the Code for Unplanned Encounters at Sea.
Both nations have agreed to entrust responsible bodies to complete necessary procedures to implement the $500 million credit package that Modi has offered Việt Nam to carry out joint projects in bilateral defence co-operation.
After talks, the ministers witnessed the signing of a co-operation agreement between the Việt Nam Air Defence and Air Force and the Indian Air Force.
A roundtable conference was also held the same day to discuss bilateral co-operation between defence enterprises of both countries.
Defence Minister Lịch will end his four-day visit to India tomorrow. – VNS