Rajnath Singh meets with his Vietnamese counterpart and signs a strategic vision statement aimed at’significantly improving’ defence cooperation

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Defence Minister Rajnath Singh met with his Vietnamese counterpart General Phan Van Giang on Tuesday and the two countries inked the ‘Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defence Partnership towards 2030,’ which will “substantially increase” bilateral defence collaboration.

Singh, who is in Vietnam for a three-day visit beginning June 8, was greeted with a guard of honour at the Ministry of National Defense’s headquarters. General Giang also extended a warm welcome to Singh.

General Giang and the Defense Minister had a one-on-one meeting. According to the Indian Embassy on Twitter, both leaders expressed pleasure with continuing defence cooperation and agreed to continue exploring new opportunities to strengthen the relationship.

Singh described his meeting with his Vietnamese colleague as “great.”

“We rekindled our discussions about enhancing bilateral cooperation.” On Twitter, Singh stated, “Our close defence and security cooperation is an essential aspect in the Indo-Pacific region’s stability.”

He tweeted, “We held wide-ranging conversations on effective and realistic efforts to further deepen bilateral Defense relations, as well as regional and global concerns.”

“Following our successful discussions, we signed the “Joint Vision Statement on India-Vietnam Defense Partnership for 2030,” which would greatly expand the breadth and scale of our defence collaboration,” Singh added in another tweet.

Singh began his journey here by paying respects to Vietnam’s founding father, Ho Chi Minh, at his mausoleum. As a gesture of respect for Vietnam’s valiant war heroes and martyrs, he also laid a wreath at the Monument for War Heroes and Martyrs.

He’ll also meet with President Nguyen Xuan Phuc and Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh of Vietnam.

Singh’s visit to Vietnam, according to the defence ministry in New Delhi, is intended at strengthening bilateral defence ties as well as the comprehensive strategic cooperation.

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

In the face of China’s aggressive military manoeuvring in the region, India, the United States, and a number of other world powers have discussed the importance of ensuring a free, open, and vibrant Indo-Pacific.

Taiwan, the Philippines, Brunei, Malaysia, and Vietnam all claim parts of the disputed South China Sea, while China claims practically all of it. In the South China Sea, Beijing has constructed artificial islands and military outposts.

In the South China Sea, India has oil exploration projects in Vietnamese seas. In recent years, India and Vietnam have increased their maritime security cooperation to preserve shared interests.

“The defence minister will preside over the handover ceremony of 12 high-speed guard boats built under India’s USD 100 million defence line of credit to Vietnam at the Hong Ha Shipyard in Hai Phong.”

“This project is noteworthy in the context of rising defence industrial collaboration with Vietnam,” the ministry said in a statement. “It represents Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s vision of ‘Aatmanirbhar Bharat’ and ‘Make in India, Make for the World.'”

During his visit to Vietnam, Singh will also pay a visit to the country’s training schools in Nha Trang, including the Telecommunication University, where an Army Software Park is being built with a USD 5 million grant from India.

He will also connect with the Indian diaspora at a community gathering hosted by the Indian Embassy in Hanoi.

“The defence minister’s visit will further cement bilateral defence cooperation and the overall strategic partnership on the historic occasion of 50 years of India-Vietnam diplomatic relations and 75 years of India’s independence,” the ministry stated.

During the visit of Vietnam’s then-Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to India in July 2007, the two nations’ relations were upgraded to the level of “strategic partnership.”

The bilateral relationship was elevated to a “comprehensive strategic partnership” in 2016 during Prime Minister Modi’s visit to Vietnam.

In India’s Act East policy and Indo-Pacific vision, Vietnam has emerged as a key partner.

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