NEW DELHI:Vietnam is pivotal for India’s “Act East” policy and as the South East Asian country’s Defence Minister visits India in the first week of December, he will seek to replicate the Naval cooperation between the two countries to the Army and Air Force as well.
Defence minister Ngo Xuan Lich will be in India on December 3-4 with proposals to deepen bilateral defence cooperation. India has, under the strategic partnership, trained 550 Vietnamese submariners to operate six newly-acquired Russian-built kilo-attack submarines.
“Vietnam would be seeking replication of the success of cooperation between the two navies with the Army and Air Force as well. We would definitely like to hear them as they are our strategic partners,” officials from the Ministry of External Affairs (MEA) told Express.
Hanoi has already asked India to train pilots of Russian-built Sukhoi fighter-jets, but the proposal has been hanging fire due to financial constraints. While the two countries have agreed to infuse vigour into their ties, the cooperation is modest if not less. India has announced two lines of credit — $100 million and $500 million — for defence purchases. It also offers 50 slots to Vietnamese defence personnel under the India Technical and Economic Cooperation programme.