India, Vietnam look at deepening defence cooperation

Hanoi, June 6 (IANS) India and Vietnam are looking at deepening defence cooperation, an official statement said on Monday after Indian Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar met his counterpart here.

Parrikar, who arrived here on an official visit on Sunday, and met Vietnamese National Defence Minister, Gen. Ngo Xuan Lich, and they reviewed the “entire spectrum” of defence cooperation initiatives and focussed on measures to further strengthen their bilateral defence relations, the statement said.

The two ministers welcomed the efforts made by their armed forces to further extend collaboration in new fields.

Parrikar complimented Vietnam on their successful participation in the International Fleet Review held in India in February 2016. Visiting the elite 308 Division, he complimented the efforts of the Vietnam People’s Army soldiers on their contribution in the past.

He also visited the Research and Development facilities of Viettel Group of industries even as both ministers emphasised the need for greater defence industry cooperation.

Parrikar also attended a business roundtable meeting comprising defence industry delegates from the two countries with the focus on enhancing defence industry networking, information sharing and exploration of possibilities for partnerships and collaborations between the two countries.

It also saw the handing over of the bid document by Vietnam Border Guards to Larson & Toubro Ltd. India had recently provided Vietnam with a $100 million Line of Credit which is being utilised by it for procurement of Offshore Patrol Boats for their Border Guards.

On the mechanism of exchange of information, both leaders emphasised the necessity for sharing of white shipping information to facilitate exchange of information in the maritime domain. The two sides also focussed on enhancing hydrographic cooperation.

Parrikar also extended an invitation to his Vietnamese counterpart to visit India at an early date and the invitation was accepted.

He also called on Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang and Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc on Monday.

“The leaders reviewed the Strategic Partnership and the new initiatives undertaken to further strengthen it. They reiterated the resolve to continue high-level contacts between the leaders of both countries,” the statement said.

–IANS

ao/vd

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