India sealed a historic agreement with Vietnam last week to bind the access of strategic lanes in the ocean for military purposes, expanding India’s geostrategic reach towards the edge of the Pacific region.
Both nations signed key pacts on June 8 including a rare 10-year vision document that compasses the strategic alignment to deepen bilateral defense cooperation between India and Vietnam amid territorial disputes from China in the South China Sea.
The agreement was signed during Indian Defence Minister Rajnath Singh’s important three-day visit to Vietnam to hold significant bilateral talks with his Vietnamese counterpart.
During the talks, both sides mutually agreed to accelerate the extension of a $500 million line of credit to Hanoi by India. The credit will be used to buy key defense equipment from New Delhi focused on key purchases including the tactical BrahMos supersonic missile system that Vietnam has breen proposing for several years.
India already exercises its strategic relationship with Vietnam by training Vietnamese Air Force pilots, and supplying spare and maintenance to their fighter jets. Additionally, India has exported a used Kilo-class submarine and many ship-based sensors suites developed indigenously.
Prior to this MoU, India and Vietnam have exercised a Comprehensive Strategic Partnership (CSP) since 2016. With the recent agreement, both nations will advance their mutual cooperation in military partnership to newer heights. Vietnam and India share similar security concerns circling around Chinese expansion in the adjacent regions.
Feeling aggression from China, both nations have taken significant steps to enhance their military capabilities. Hanoi’s military budget has seen a rise of nearly 600 percent over the last decade due to this concern, demonstrating its focus on defense preparedness. A member of the ASEAN (Association of Southeast Asian Nations) grouping, Vietnam has territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea region.
While India shares a decades-long rivalry with China, the recent Galwan clash has escalated tensions between New Delhi and Beijing. Since then, India has been rapidly growing its military and logistical abilities in multifold ways.