India to hold naval drill with Vietnam in SCS

Last Updated 20 May 2018, 19:57 IST

Navies of India and Vietnam will next week practice their first war game in the South China Sea that continues to remain a source of flashpoint in the region.

Two Indian warships INS Sahyadri and INS Kamorta along with fleet tanker INS Shakti will make a port call at Tien Sa Port, Danang between May 21 and 25.

On completion of the harbour phase of the drill, the warships of the two navies will head to the high sea to practice some manoeuvres in the Vietnamese water of the South China Sea.

The first ever Indo-Vietnam naval war game will be followed by a visit from Indian Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman to the Ho Chi Minh next month.

The heads of Vietnam Army and navy will also be travelling to India to build up on the new comprehensive strategic partnership between the two nations, a naval spokesperson said in a statement.

In 2016, during the official visit of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, the relations between the two countries were elevated to the strategic level.

It was reciprocated by Vietnam Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc, who travelled to New Delhi in January 2018 as one of the chief guests for the Republic Day parade and for ASEAN-India Commemorative Summit.

It was soon followed by a state visit from the President of Vietnam, Tran Dai Quang in March 2018 signifying the momentum of the bilateral relationship.

The fast progress in Indo-Vietnam relations as a part of India's Look East policy comes at a time when China is keeping a close eye on the activities in the South China Sea because of the disputes that the Communist country have with other nations in the region.

The naval drill comes months after the two conducted their first-ever exercise in January at Jabalpur in Madhya Pradesh.

(Published 20 May 2018, 15:59 IST)

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