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Rajnath hands over USD 1 million to Vietnamese Air Force training institute

Defence Minister Rajnath Singh during a ceremony to hand over 12 High Speed Guard Boats, constructed under Indias $US 1oo million Defence Line of Credit, to Vietnam, at Hong Ha Shipyard, in Hai Phong, Vietnam. Five boats were manufactured at the L&T Shipyard in India and seven at the Hong Ha Shipyard in Vietnam. A PTI Photo

NEW DELHI (PTI): Indian  Defence Minister Rajnath Singh today handed over a "gift" of USD 1 million to a Vietnamese Air Force training institute for a language and IT laboratory on the final day of his three-day visit to Vietnam.

The defence minister also visited the Telecommunications University in Nha Trang where an Army software park is being established with a USD 5 million grant from India.

"Handed over a gift cheque of USD 1 million for establishing a language and IT laboratory at the Air Force Officers Training School in Nha Trang. I am confident that the laboratory will substantially contribute to raising language & IT skills of Vietnam's Air Force personnel," Singh tweeted.

On Thursday, Singh handed over to Vietnam 12 high-speed guard boats built under a USD 100 million Line of Credit granted to the Southeast Asian country by India.

The boats were given amid increasing maritime security cooperation between the two sides to deal with Beijing's increasing military assertiveness in the South China Sea region.

India and Vietnam on Wednesday inked a vision document to further broad-base the "scope and scale" of defence ties by 2030 and sealed a logistics support pact to allow their militaries of the two sides to use each other's bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.

The documents were signed after Singh and his Vietnamese counterpart General Phan Van Giang held "fruitful" talks.

The Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on mutual logistics support is the first such major agreement that Vietnam has signed with any country.

The defence ministry said India and Vietnam continue to have the "most trustworthy relations in contemporary times with broader convergence of interests and common concerns."

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.

India and Vietnam are boosting their maritime security cooperation in the last few years to protect common interests.

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

In 2016, during Prime Minister Narendra Modi's visit to Vietnam, 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.

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