New Delhi: Seeking to strengthen military ties, Defence Minister Manohar Parrikar on Monday met Vietnamese President Tran Dai Quang, with whom he reviewed strategic partnership and new initiatives undertaken to further nourish
cooperation in the military sector.
Parrikar also met Prime Minister Nguyen Xuan Phuc and his counterpart Gen Ngo Xuan Lich and held high level bilateral talks on key military issues including possible sale of supersonic missile Brahmos to the Southeast Asian country and reviewed the entire spectrum of defence cooperation initiatives.
During the interaction, Ngo emphasised on the significance of closer ties between Vietnam and India due to common threats and challenges.
The contentious South China Sea was also believed to have been discussed by the two Defence ministers, official sources said.
On the mechanism of exchange of information, Parrikar and Ngo emphasised the necessity for sharing of white shipping information to facilitate exchange of data in the maritime domain. The two sides also focused on enhancing hydrographic cooperation.
The meeting gained significance as both countries are celebrating 45 years of diplomatic relations and 10 years of strategic partnership, with defence sector being the major sector contributing towards this partnership.
Parrikar, who reached Hanoi on Sunday, attended a business roundtable meeting comprising defence industry delegates from the two countries.
The highlight of the meeting was the handing over of the bid document by Vietnam Border Guards to Larson & Toubro Limited. India has recently provided Vietnam with a US$100 million Line of Credit which is being utilised by Vietnam for procurement of Offshore Patrol Boats for their Border Guards.
Speaking on the occasion, he desired Indian private sector to lead the initiative and explore and actively participate in Vietnamese modernisation of defence forces.
This will not just strengthen the diplomatic and military bond between both the nations but also open the doors of strategic exports, he said.
Parrikar also assured the Indian private sector of full support of Ministry of Defence, DRDO and DPSU to realise the aspiration of exports of defence items to friendly nations at competitive price.
The major areas identified for working together are for upgrade of Soviet legacy systems, upgradation of Thermal Sights and Fire Control Systems for - BMP, T 54 and T 55 Tanks, upgarade of MI 17 / Mi 8 Helicopters, Shipbuilding Programmes, Missile Systems from India and Software Defined Radios from Vietnam.