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Vietnamese Defence Minister begins two-day India visit

NEW DELHI (PTI): Defence Minister Rajnath Singh will hold talks with his Vietnamese counterpart General Phan Van Giang on Monday with a focus on further boosting bilateral defence ties and reviewing the situation in the South China Sea (SCS), a region that has witnessed growing Chinese assertiveness.

The Vietnamese Defence Minister began his two-day visit to India on Sunday.

"The visiting dignitary will hold a bilateral meeting with Defence Minister Rajnath Singh in New Delhi on June 19 to carry forward the India-Vietnam defence cooperation," the Defence Ministry said.

"Both sides will also exchange views on regional and global issues of mutual interest," it said in a statement.

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. Defence engagements between the two nations include wide-ranging contacts between the services, military-to-military exchanges, capacity building and training programmes.

During Defence Minister Rajnath Singh's visit to Vietnam in June 2022, a joint vision statement on the India-Vietnam defence partnership and a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) on mutual logistics support were inked.

The Ministry said both the vision document and the logistic support pact have significantly enhanced the scope and scale of defence cooperation between both countries.

General Giang is also scheduled to visit Agra.

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