Rajnath holds talks with Vietnamese defence minister

Rajnath holds virtual talks with Vietnamese defence minister

Singh outlined that a strong and self reliant India will positively contribute to capacity building of friendly partner countries like Vietnam

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh attends a bilateral meeting with the Defence Minister of Vietnam, General Ngo Xuan Lich (unseen) via video conferencing. Credit: PTI/@DefenceMinIndia.

India and Vietnam on Friday vowed to further expand their strategic cooperation as Defence Minister Rajnath Singh and his Vietnamese counterpart General Ngo Xuan Lich held extensive talks focusing on the future trajectory of bilateral military ties, officials said.

Following the talks in the virtual format, the defence ministry said the two sides signed an arrangement that will facilitate sharing of hydrographic data between the two countries.

In the talks, both the ministers reaffirmed that defence cooperation is a key pillar of the comprehensive strategic partnership between the two countries, it said.

"They discussed various ongoing projects and the future trajectory of bilateral defence engagements," the ministry said.

Officials said both sides agreed to further boost the overall defence and strategic cooperation.   

India and Vietnam upgraded their relationship to the level of comprehensive strategic partnership in 2016 and the defence cooperation has been one of the most significant pillars of the fast expanding bilateral ties.

"The Vietnamese defence minister thanked the Raksha Mantri for the assistance by Indian armed forces in capacity building of Vietnamese defence forces especially in the field of human resource development," the ministry said.

"Raksha Mantri conveyed India's willingness to enhance the scope and level of training for all three services of Vietnam defence forces in Indian defence institutes," it added.

It said Singh underlined Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of “Atmanirbhar Bharat (self-reliant India)” including in the defence sector.

Singh outlined that a strong and self reliant India will positively contribute to capacity building of friendly partner countries like Vietnam.

"He urged for closer defence industry cooperation between India and Vietnam by concluding an institutionalised framework agreement in the near future," the ministry said.

Vietnam, an important country of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations), has territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea region.

India has oil exploration projects in the Vietnamese waters in the South China Sea.

China claims sovereignty over all of the South China Sea, a huge source of hydrocarbons. However, several ASEAN member countries, including Vietnam, Philippines and Brunei, have counter claims.

There has been mounting global criticism of China over its military assertiveness in the South China Sea region in the midst of the coronavirus pandemic.