Defence Minister Rajnath Singh handed over 12 high-speed guard boats built under a USD 100 million line of credit granted by India to the Southeast Asian country.
The boats given by Singh at a ceremony in the Hong Ha shipyard amid increasing maritime security cooperation between the two sides to deal with Beijing's increasing military assertiveness in the South China Sea region. From June 8 to 10 the defence minister will be on a three-day visit to Vietnam.
It's great pleasure to join this historic ceremony marking the successful completion of the project to build 12 high-speed guard boats under the USD 100 million defence line of credit by India,'' he said at the event.
The initial five boats were manufactured at the L&T Shipyard in India and the remaining seven were built in the Hong Ha shipyard.
Singh said he is confident that this will be a precursor to many more cooperative defence projects between India and Vietnam.
He said that this project is a glowing example of our mission to make in India -- Make for the World'. The defence minister said that India would be 'greatly pleased' if close friends like Vietnam would become part of the country's transformation in the defence manufacturing sector.
He said that the successful completion of the project, despite the COVID-19 pandemic, is a reflection of the commitment and professional excellence of the Indian defence manufacturing sector as well as the Hong Ha shipyard. In his address, Singh said that the Indian defence industry has increased its capabilities under the Aatmanirbhar Bharat'' self-reliant India vision of Prime Minister Narendra Modi. He stated that the objective is to make India a defence manufacturing hub that not only caters to domestic needs but also fulfills international requirements.
India and Vietnam signed a vision document to further broaden the scope and scale of defence ties by 2030 and signed a logistics support pact to allow their militaries to use each other's bases for repair and replenishment of supplies.
The documents were signed after Singh and his Vietnamese counterpart General Phan Van Giang held 'fruitful' talks.
The Memorandum of Understanding MoU on mutual logistics support is the first such major agreement that Vietnam has signed with any country. The defence ministry said India and Vietnam continue to have the most trustworthy relationships in contemporary times, with a convergence of interests and common concerns. Vietnam, an important country in the ASEAN Association of Southeast Asian Nations, has territorial disputes with China in the South China Sea region.
India has oil exploration projects in the Vietnamese waters of the South China Sea. India and Vietnam have boosted their maritime security cooperation in the last few years to protect common interests. Relations between the two countries were elevated to the level of a'strategic partnership' during the visit of Vietnam's then Prime Minister Nguyen Tan Dung to India in July 2007.
In 2016 during Prime Minister Modi's visit to Vietnam, bilateral relations were elevated to a comprehensive strategic partnership''.
Vietnam is an important partner in India's Act East policy and the Indo-Pacific vision.