NEW DELHI: With China looming over the horizon, Prime Minister Narendra Modi told his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Tan Dung on Tuesday that India was “committed” to the modernisation of Vietnam’s defence and security forces, even as both countries agreed on India getting two more oil blocks in South China Sea.
Photo Gallery: Vietnam Prime Ministers Two Day Visit in India
Speaking after their formal talks, Modi underlined the nature of ties with Vietnam. “Our defence cooperation with Vietnam is among our most important ones. India remains committed to the modernisation of Vietnam’s defence, security forces,” he said.
Similarly, PM Dung said “concrete cooperation national defence and security” will be an “important pillar of the Vietnam-India strategic partnership”.
Modi mentioned that the “expansion” in defence ties would include “training programme, which is already very substantial, joint-exercises and cooperation in defence equipment”.
India is already training Vietnam’s Naval personnel for its new submarine fleet, but now there are plans to include fighter pilot training to air force officers of the South East Asian nation. He also pointed out that both the countries will “quickly operationalise” the line of credit for $100 million that will allow Vietnam to acquire four new patrol boats. The agreement for this line of credit had been signed during President Pranab Mukherjee’s visit to Vietnam.
Meanwhile, on the South China Sea issue, both the countries reiterated their position that it was important to maintain stability, peace and prosperity in the region. “They agreed that freedom of navigation and overflight in the East Sea/South China Sea should not be impeded and called the parties concerned to exercise restraint, avoid threat or use of force and resolve disputes through peaceful means in accordance with universally recognised principles of international law, including the UNCLOS-1982m,” said the Joint Statement.