India signs defense pact with Vietnam amid growing Chinese aggression

India on Wednesday signed a defense pact with Vietnam, pledging to “significantly increase the scope and scale” of their military coordination over the next decade.

The announcement came on the heels of China launching a highly suspicious port construction project with Vietnam’s neighbor Cambodia.

The India time (TOI) noted that the defense pact was signed after “successful” talks between the defense ministers of India and Vietnam, conducted in “the context where both countries are wary of the aggressive and expansionist behavior of China in the Indo-Pacific region”.

TOI noted that this is the first military logistics support memorandum of understanding Vietnam has not signed with any other country. India has entered into logistic support agreements with several other global and regional powers, including the United States.

The agreement allow Indian and Vietnamese forces use each other’s bases for repair and resupply. India agreed to fast-track a $500 million line of credit for defense products to Vietnam and offered the Vietnamese 12 high-speed coastguard boats, two training simulators and a million dollar cash grant establish a Vietnamese Air Force training program.

Vietnam is still a communist country – Indian Defense Minister Rajnath Singh began his visit by paying homage to Ho Chi Minh’s mausoleum in Hanoi – but relations with his former boss China have soured. deteriorated amid territorial disputes in the South China Sea.

Hanoi seems determined to remind China that its military forces should not be taken for granted. In March, Vietnamese Prime Minister Pham Minh Chinh assisted a ceremony to honor the 64 sailors and marines who were slaughtered in a lopsided 1988 battle with the Chinese Navy at Johnson South Reef in the Spratly Islands.

The Vietnamese government rarely mentions the Battle of Johnson South Reef and has never held an official memorial ceremony for its dead. The prime minister’s unprecedented participation in the commemoration this year was seen as a gesture of defiance to China – a reminder that Vietnam is ready to fight for its sovereignty, whatever the odds.

Vietnam finds a natural defense partner in India, which has its own territorial disputes with China and is keen to check Beijing’s arrogant expansionism. India and Vietnam have good reason to be unhappy with Cambodia’s decision to develop its Ream naval base with Chinese military assistance – contributions that would be repaid by allowing China to build a secret military facility at the base.

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Post expires at 9:03am on Tuesday June 21st, 2022

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