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Rajnath Singh meets Vietnamese counterpart; signs joint vision statement to significantly enhance' defence cooperation


Defence Minister Rajnath Singh inspects the Guard of Honour at Vietnam's Ministry of National Defence, in Hanoi, Vietnam, Wednesday, June 8, 2022. Vietnam's Minister of National Defence General Phan Van Giang is also seen. A PTI Photo

HANOI (PTI):  Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh held an excellent meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart General Phan Van Giang as the two countries signed the Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defence Partnership towards 2030' which will significantly enhance the scope and scale of bilateral defence cooperation.

Singh, who is in the Southeast Asian country on a three-day visit from June 8, received a guard of honour at the headquarters of the Ministry of National Defence of Vietnam. Singh was also accorded a grand welcome by General Giang.

The Defence Minister on Tuesday held bilateral talks with General Giang. Both leaders expressed satisfaction with the ongoing Defence cooperation and agreed to continue exploring further avenues to enrich this partnership, the Embassy of India said on Twitter.

Singh said that he had an excellent meeting with his Vietnamese counterpart.

We renewed interactions on expanding bilateral cooperation. Our close Defence and Security cooperation is an important factor of stability in the Indo-Pacific region, Singh said on Twitter.

We had wide-ranging discussions on effective and practical initiatives to further expand bilateral Defence engagements and regional and global issues, he tweeted.

After our fruitful deliberations, we signed the Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defence Partnership towards 2030 , which will significantly enhance the scope and scale of our defence cooperation, Singh said in another tweet.

Earlier, Singh began his trip by paying homage to Vietnam's Founding Father Ho Chi Minh at his mausoleum here. He also laid a wreath at the Monument for War Heroes and Martyrs as a mark of respect to Vietnam's gallant war heroes and martyrs here.

He is also scheduled to call on Vietnamese President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh.

In New Delhi, the defence ministry said Singh's visit to Vietnam is aimed at further consolidating the bilateral defence ties as well as the comprehensive strategic partnership.

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

India, the US and several other world powers have been talking about the need to ensure a free, open and thriving Indo-Pacific in the backdrop of China's aggressive military manoeuvring in the region.

China also claims nearly all of the disputed South China Sea, though Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia and Vietnam all claim parts of it. Beijing has built artificial islands and military installations in the South China Sea.

India has oil exploration projects in the Vietnamese waters in the South China Sea. India and Vietnam are boosting their maritime security cooperation in the last few years to protect common interests.

"At the Hong Ha Shipyard in Hai Phong, the defence minister will preside over the handing over ceremony of 12 high-speed guard boats constructed under the government of India's USD 100 million defence line of credit to Vietnam.

"This project is significant in the context of the growing defence industry cooperation with Vietnam and exemplifies Prime Minister Narendra Modi's vision of 'Aatmanirbhar Bharat' and 'Make in India, Make for the World'," the ministry said in a statement.

During his Vietnam tour, Singh will also visit training institutions of the country at Nha Trang, including the Telecommunication University where an Army Software Park is being established with a USD 5 million grant from India.

He will also attend a community event organised by the Embassy of India in Hanoi and interact with the Indian diaspora.

"The defence minister's visit on the historic occasion of 50 years of establishment of India-Vietnam diplomatic relations and 75 years of India's Independence will further consolidate the bilateral defence cooperation and the comprehensive strategic partnership," the ministry said.

The relations between the two countries were elevated to the level of a "strategic partnership" during the visit of Vietnam's then prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung to India in July 2007.

In 2016, during Prime Minister Modi's visit to Vietnam, the bilateral relations were further elevated to a "comprehensive strategic partnership".

Vietnam has become an important partner in India's Act East policy and the Indo-Pacific vision.

Recently, Saurabh Kumar, Secretary (East) in the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA), visited Vietnam for the 12th round of political consultations and the ninth round of strategic dialogue in Hanoi.

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