India, Vietnam discuss military hardware cooperation

By SP's Special Correspondent November 11, 2013 Photo(s): By BrahMos

India and Vietnam are bolstering friendly ties in the Indian Ocean region. The two countries last week held delegation level parleys as part of the 8th Vietnam-India Strategic Defence Dialogue on military hardware cooperation. Indian Defence Secretary RK Mathur and his Vietnamese counterpart Nguyen Chi Vinh met in Hanoi with their respective delegations to chart out a course for how defence trade could bring the two countries closer. Vietnam, like India, operates a large number of Soviet-origin weapons platforms, and the commonality of equipment accounts for a convenient area of cooperation between the two countries. In July this year, India raised many eyebrows by extending a $100-million credit line to Vietnam for the procurement of Indian defence hardware (four patrol vessels). One of the main items that Vietnam is looking to procure is the BrahMos supersonic cruise missile for land and sea deployment. While discussions have moved forward, diplomatic sensitivities vis-a-vis Russia and China have slowed a final decision. Vietnam has also expressed interest in Indian indigenous warships, including patrol vessels, fast attack craft and frigates.