Vietnam key partner in India's Indo-Pacific vision: PM

Vietnam important partner in India's Indo-Pacific vision: PM Narendra Modi

Modi said India looks at its ties with Vietnam with a long-term and strategic perspective

Prime Minister Narendra Modi addresses during a virtual bilateral summit with his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc, in New Delhi. Credit: PTI Photo

Prime Minister Narendra Modi on Monday formally handed over to his Vietnam counterpart Nguyen Xuan Phuc a high-speed patrol boat, which was the first of a fleet of 12 India had pledged to provide the South-East Asian nation to help it guard its maritime boundary in the face of growing aggression of China.

Modi and Phuc had a virtual summit and agreed to explore practical cooperation based on convergences between India’s Indo-Pacific Oceans’ Initiative and the ASEAN Outlook on Indo-Pacific subscribed by Vietnam.

The summit took place amid growing belligerence of China, not only along its disputed boundary with India but also in the South China Sea, where Vietnam and several other nations are embroiled in territorial disputes with Xi Jingping’s ‘Middle Kingdom’.

New Delhi and Hanoi signed seven pacts on the sideline of the summit, including an implementing arrangement for defence industry cooperation and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) between India’s Atomic Energy Regulatory Board (AERB) and Vietnam Agency for Radiation and Nuclear Safety (VARANS) to promote mutual cooperation between the regulatory bodies of the two countries in the fields of radiation protection and nuclear safety.

The two nations also inked an agreement for $5 million grant from India to Vietnam to facilitate setting up of an Information Technology infrastructure at the Army Software Park at the Telecommunications University in Nha Trang in the South Asian nation, with provision for training and services in the field of software applications.

Modi and Phuc sent out a message to Beijing, reaffirming “importance of maintaining peace, stability, security and freedom of navigation and overflight in the South China Sea, while pursuing the peaceful resolution of disputes in accordance with international law, particularly the 1982 United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), without resorting to threat or use of force”, according to a joint statement issued after the summit.

Modi not only formally handed over to Phuc one High Speed Guard Boat, but the two leaders also launched of two other vessels being manufactured in India for Vietnam. They also remotely attended the keel-laying ceremony or the start of manufacturing of seven other similar vessels being manufactured in Vietnam with support from India.

New Delhi is providing the patrol boats to Vietnam under a $100 million Defence Line of Credit it earlier extended to the South East Asian nations.

India agreed to raise the number of Quick Impact Projects it finances in Vietnam from currently five per year to 10 per year commencing from 2021-2022.