In the backdrop of the growing maritime engagement between India and Vietnam, the Indian Navy undertook the second edition of the bilateral maritime exercise between Indian Navy and Vietnam Peoples’ Navy at/ off Cam Ranh Bay, Vietnam from 13 to 16 Apr 19.
Last year President Ram Nath Kovind visited Vietnam and held dialogue with Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Phu Trong. Both agreed to effectively implement the Joint Vision Statement on Vietnam–India Defence Cooperation for the period of 2015-2020. India also offered USD 500 million line of credit to defence industry.
India and Vietnam have decided to step up defence cooperation to boost their bilateral ties as they reaffirmed the importance of freedom of navigation in the South China Sea. It is a major concern with China flexing its muscles in the Indo-Pacific region and building up artificial islands, primarily in the Spratly and Paracel Islands. India and Vietnam jointly stated the compliance with international law, particularly the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea 1982 (UNCLOS).
The Indian Navy-Vietnam Peoples’ Navy Bilateral Exercise is a significant step in further strengthening mutual confidence and inter-operability as well as sharing best practices between the Indian and the Vietnam Peoples’ Navies.
The exercise was undertaken as a part of the ongoing Overseas Deployment of Eastern Fleet ships to South East Asian countries. IN Ships Kolkata under the command of Capt Aditya Hara and Shakti under the command of Capt Sriram Amur participated in the exercise, comprising a harbour and a sea phase.
The Indian Navy and the Vietnam Peoples’ Navy have traditionally shared good relations. Conduct of the bilateral exercise on an annual basis would give a further fillip to the existing strong bilateral relation between the two countries, which since Sep 16 have been elevated to the level of ‘Comprehensive Strategic Partnership’ after the visit of the PM to Vietnam. The Navy to Navy cooperation involves a Composite Training Programme in the fields of Submarine, Aviation and Dockyard training. The two countries have also signed an agreement to exchange White Shipping Information and have a running ‘Information Sharing’ programme.